On June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a new proclamation relating to certain non-immigrant visa categories due to COVID-19 and its effects on the US economy. The Proclamation takes effect at 12:01AM eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020.
The “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the US Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” importantly explains that those foreign nationals outside of the US who do not currently hold a valid visa (but who may be in the process of applying for one) in the following non-immigrant categories are temporarily suspended from entering the US:
- H-1B for specialty occupations.
- H-2B for temporary non-agricultural workers.
- Certain H-4 visas accompanying the above H-1B or H-2B visa applicants.
- All L visas for intercompany transferees.
- Certain J-1 visa applicants participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counsellor, au-pair or summer work travel program, and any accompanying J-2.
There are some broad classifications of visa applicants or holders who are not affected as non-immigrants, including (but not limited to) the following visa categories:
- E-3 visas for Australian specialty occupations.
- E-1 treaty traders.
- E-2 treaty investors.
- O, P, R, C, D, C-1/D, I, TN, H-1B1, H-2A, and other employee visas not specifically mentioned above.
- F and M student visas.
- B visas for temporary visitors.
- K visas including K-1 for fiancé(e)s.
- Eligible Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) visitor travellers.
The Department of State, Labor and Homeland Security have provided exceptions to the Proclamation, including workers in the following categories:
- Critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the US.
- Involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized.
- Involved with the provision of medical research at US facilities to help the US combat COVID-19.
- Necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the US.
The President also extended the April 22, 2020, Presidential Proclamation (Proclamation 10014). This proclamation remains in effect until December 31, 2020 effective immediately. Please read this previous blog article related to immigrant visas and the Presidential Proclamation 10014.
Note that the previous March 20, 2020 suspension of routine visa services at all US consulates and embassies is still in effect. Furthermore, travel restrictions for foreign nationals travelling from certain countries due to COVID-19 also remain.
We have previously outlined numerous COVID-19 updates here. We will continue to provide additional information on this proclamation and other COVID-19 related immigration matters as they arise.
We are available to discuss your current situation and understand the stress and considerations given at the moment. Please reach out to our team to develop the best strategy possible.
About The Author
Melissa Vincenty is a US attorney, an Australian migration agent and the founder and managing director of Worldwide Migration Partners. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in migration law, including practising at the world’s largest US immigration firm and more than 15 years as a Country Specialist (China and Tibet) for Amnesty International USA.