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New Executive Order Extends Travel Ban for Certain Visas

June 23, 2020

An executive order further limiting entry for nonimmigrant workers in H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 status (and their dependents) will take effect on June 24, 2020, at 12:01 am and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020.

It is important to note that these restrictions are in addition to April's COVID-19 "travel ban," which we summarized here.

Who will the restrictions apply to?

  • Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States in H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 status (and their dependents) who are currently outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation and are not in possession of a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States in J-1 status to participate in internships, trainee programs, teaching, or as a camp counselor, au pair or as part of summer work-travel programs (including any dependents); and
  • Foreign nationals (and their dependents) who do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as an advance parole document) valid on the effective date of the proclamation or that is issued on any date thereafter permitting him or her to travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

The suspension excludes the following individuals:

  • All U.S. permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Any foreign national who is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • Any foreign national entering the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain;
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their designated agencies;
  • Individuals in possession of a valid H-1B, L-1, H-2B, or J-1 visa as of the date of the proclamation;
  • All citizens of Canada who do not require nonimmigrant visa stamps;
  • All applicants applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS");
  • Applicants submitting petitions for extension or change of nonimmigrant status filed in the United States and applications for dependents of such visa applicants.
    As stated above, this proclamation does not suspend current travel bans in effect, including the travel ban for individuals coming to the United States who might have been in Brazil for the prior 14 days, individuals from Schengen Zone countries, and others.

The presidential proclamation does not apply to the following nonimmigrant visa categories (and their dependents):

  • J-1 visas for those entering the United States to pursue studies as a college or university student, physician, research scholar, secondary school student, short-term scholar or specialist;
  • F-1 students;
  •  E-1 and E-2 treaty visas;
  •  R-1 Religious workers;
  • O-1 and O-2 visas;
  • TN (Canada and Mexico) visas;
  • H1B1 visas (Chile and Singapore); and
  • E-3 Australian visas, among others.

Note that this proclamation did not contain the anticipated suspension of employment authorization for H-4 dependents of long-term H-1B visa holders with pending U.S. permanent residence applications.

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to pursue additional regulatory initiatives restricting the issuance of visas at U.S. consular posts abroad. Unlike an executive order, regulatory initiatives will be subject to the standard notice and comment rule-making process which takes 30-60 days. Once the comment period has concluded, any new rules would be implemented no earlier than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. These rules, therefore, could become effective prior to the end of 2020. We will keep you updated regarding these initiatives.

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