How does Trump suspension of Green Cards, L-1, H-1B and other visas affect applicants starting June 24, 2020?
On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order to suspend the entry of new foreign nationals on L-1, H-1B, H-2B and certain J-1 visas for intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, work & travel, as well as their spouses and children, starting June 24, 2020 and until the end of the year on December 31, 2020, subject to limited exceptions.
However, foreign citizens who have a valid U.S. visa on June 24, 2020 in the H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 visa category, spouses and children who hold a valid U.S. visa on June 24, 2020 as dependents of these visas categories and those foreign nationals who are already present in the US as of June 24, 2020 are not subject to the Executive Order and are not impacted by the new restrictions.
Aside from the restrictions on entry and issuance of new visas, H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 discussed above, the Executive Order further suspends the entry of foreign citizens in certain US immigrant visa categories until December 31, 2020, including EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 visas and excluding EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and others.
However, the Executive Order suspending entry of foreign nationals on US immigrant visas (Green Cards) does not apply to those foreign citizens who already have a valid US immigrant visa on June 24, 2020 and the suspension does not affect the filing or processing of applications for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the United States.
Finally, the Executive Order directs immigration agencies to develop additional standards and regulations to restrict the H-1B program and toughen the conditions to sponsor foreign nationals for Green Cards in the EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant visa categories. The Executive Order or Presidential Proclamation 10052 signed on June 22, 2020 is issued in response to Covid-19 and the economic impact of the pandemic on the US economy.
What visa categories and individuals are IMPACTED by the June 22, 2020 Executive Order?
The foreign nationals in the following non-immigrant visa categories and their spouses and children are IMPACTED by the Executive Order:
- H-1B Visa for Employees in Specialty Occupations and Fashion Models
- H-2B Visa for Non-Agricultural Workers
- L-1A Visa for Executive or Manager
- L-1B Visa for Individuals with Specialized Knowledge
- J-1 Visa for interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs and summer work & travel program
- Their depended spouses and children
In addition, the following US immigrant visa categories (Green Card) are IMPACTED by the Executive Order suspending immigrant visa issuance until December 31, 2020, including:
- Individuals who are outside of the US as of April 24, 2020 and are obtaining a Green Card through Consular Processing. U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad will not issue employment-based, family-based or Diversity Lottery immigrant visas during this period, with limited exceptions for U.S. lawful permanent residents discussed below. Typically, in order to obtain a Green Card through employment or in other situations, you must apply for the immigrant visa through the US Embassy and Consulate abroad and attend an interview at the Consulate in order to issue you an immigrant visa to come to the United States and obtain the Green Card. The executive orders in effect since April 24, 2020 apply to those individuals who are outside the US and are getting a Green Card through a US Consulate. Please keep in mind that the order DOES NOT apply to individuals applying for a Green Card in the United States and certain exempt immigrant visa categories discussed below.
- Individuals who do not have a valid immigrant visa, advance parole or other official travel document effective as of April 24, 2020. However, if the individual already has the immigrant visa issued, then person can come to the US to obtain the Green Card.
What visa categories and individuals are NOT impacted by the June 22, 2020 Executive Order?
The Foreign nationals in the following non-immigrant visa categories and their spouses and children are NOT IMPACTED by the Executive Order:
- B-1/B-2 Visa for Temporary Business Visitors and Tourism
- F-1 Visa for International Students in Academic Programs
- F-3 Visa for Canadian or Mexican national academic commuter students
- M-1 Visa for Vocational Students
- M-3 Visa for Canadian or Mexican national vocational commuter students
- TN NAFTA Professionals Visa
- E-1 Treaty Trader Visa
- E-2 Visa
- E-2 CNMI Investor Visa
- E-3 Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia Visa
- H-2A Agricultural Workers Visa
- H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee Visa
- I Visa for Representatives of Foreign Media
- O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
- P-1 Visa for Internationally Recognized Athlete and Members of Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
- P-2 Visa for Performer or Group Performing under Reciprocal Exchange Program
- P-3 Visa for Artist or Entertainer Part of a Culturally Unique Program
- Q Visa for Cultural Exchange
- R-1 Visa for Temporary Religious Workers
In addition, the following individuals are NOT impacted by the Executive Order, including:
- All foreign citizens physically present in the United States as of June 24, 2020, including those individuals awaiting change of status under the FY 2021 H-1B cap and the foreign individuals awaiting change of status under the L-1, H-2B and J-1 visa categories.
- All foreign citizens holding a valid US visa, advance parole or other travel document as of June 24, 2020, including those individuals who are outside the United States on June 24, 2020 and who hold a valid, H visa, L visa or J visa.
- Canadians are visa exempt and do not require a visa to enter the United States. CBP has confirmed that Canadians entering on a H, L, or J visa are exempt from the Executive Order.
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse or other healthcare professional, as well as their spouse and unmarried children under 21
- Individuals applying for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
- Individuals applying for a Green Card while in the United States is not suspended if the green card application is based on an adjustment of status.
- U.S. lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders or renewals of Green Cards)
- Spouse and children of U.S. citizens
- Members of the U.S. armed forces and the spouses and children of such individuals
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter as Special Immigrants in the SI or SQ classification, and the spouse and children of such individuals
- J-1 visa applicants except for intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, work & travel program, as well as their spouses and children
- Foreign citizens entering the US to provide temporary labor or services essential to the US food supply chain
- Foreign citizens whose entry would be in the national interest of the US, including those individuals who are necessary to the economic recovery of the US, those involved in clinical care or research related to COVID-19 treatment and prevention and those who are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the US. The Executive Order provides for waivers of visa restrictions for individuals in this category and exceptions to the entry and issuance of visas for these foreign nationals. The waiver procedures and standards for persons covered by this exception have not been developed and published. The procedures are expected to be developed by the State Department in consultation with the Department of Labor and Homeland Security and to provide standards for decision making on a case-by-case basis for those foreign individuals who qualify.
Can foreign individuals in the United States apply for change of status to H visa, L visa or J visa under the Executive Order effective June 24, 2020?
The Executive Order DOES NOT apply to applications to change or extend status filed with USCIS.
Because applications to change or extend status are not subject to the order, the Executive Order does not impact the foreign nationals in the United States who have applied for change of status to H visa, L visa or J visa prior to June 24, 2020 or are in the process of applying for change of status to these visa categories after June 24, 2020.
Can foreign individuals in the United States apply for adjustment of status for Green Card under the Executive Order effective June 24, 2020?
The Executive Order DOES NOT apply to adjustment of status applications for green card filed with USCIS.
As a result, the Executive Order DOES NOT impact foreign nationals in the United States who have applied for adjustment of status prior to April 24, 2020 or are in the process of applying for adjustment of status for green card after April 24, 2020.
At Malescu Law, our business immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida are closely monitoring the implementation of the Executive Order and any issued guidance. If you have questions about your particular circumstances, please contact our business and immigrations lawyers to assist you with your case.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers