On June 22, 2020, the White House announced an extension and expansion of the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19, which was originally announced on April 22, 2020 and restricted the issuance of and entry on immigrant visas. The new proclamation expands the restrictions to certain non-immigrant work visa categories. The original proclamation was immediately extended to December 31, 2020.
Also note that the European Union (EU) has extended restrictions on nonessential travel for residents of the United States with some exceptions. EU citizens and residents are excluded from the ban. The restrictions also do not apply to travel to Ireland or the United Kingdom.
- The new proclamation is effective from June 24, 2020 until at least December 31, 2020.
- The proclamations only apply to individuals applying for new immigrant or nonimmigrant visas from overseas at U.S. consular posts.
- Individuals with valid visas in one of the suspended classifications as of June 24th are not subject to the proclamation, regardless of previous entry.
- It does not immediately impact any nonimmigrant workers already in the U.S.
The new proclamation ONLY restricts the issuance of the following nonimmigrant visas:
- H-1B visa for specialty occupation workers;
- H-2B seasonal or temporary non-agricultural workers (other than food workers);
- H-4 dependent spouses and children of H-1B/H-2B visa holders;
- J-1 exchange visitors participating as an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program;
- L-1 intracompany transfer (including L-1A executives and L-1B specialized knowledge workers).
The following are also excluded:
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
- Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens;
- Workers providing essential services for the U.S. food supply chain;
- Canadians entering as H, L or J nonimmigrants are exempt from the Presidential Proclamation;
- Anyone whose entry is determined by the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security to be in the national interest may be exempted under the proclamation, including:
o Individuals critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
o Those involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized or with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
o Anyone necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
It should be noted that, at this time, there are other travel bans restricting entry into the U.S. by foreign nationals. The most notable is the travel suspension on inbound travel from Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Schengen area of Europe as well as several other countries around the world. Additionally, all U.S. Embassies and Consulates are currently closed for routine visa applications.