On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation entitled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” that suspends the entry of certain immigrants into the U.S. and stops U.S. Consulates from issuing Immigrant Visas (IVs) to applicants outside the US for 60 days. The order takes effect April 23, 2020 and lasts for 60 days.
It is important to be familiar with the legal terminology of immigration. “Immigrant Visas” refer to applicants for permanent residency applying at a consulate or embassy. It does not refer to those applying for green cards in the United States who are instead referred to as Adjustment of Status (AOS) applicants. Most employment-based green card applicants apply for the green card through Adjustment of Status rather than by applying for an immigrant visa outside the US at a consulate.
For individual who have already been issued their IV by a U.S. consulate or embassy, you are not affected by this proclamation. Additionally, the following individuals are exempt from the proclamation:
- U.S. lawful permanent residents;
- 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;
- Applicants for EB-5 immigrant visas;
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Children under 21 of U.S. citizens and prospective adoptees in the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- Foreign nationals whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- 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; and
- Foreign nationals whose entry is in the U.S. national interest.
This Proclamation does not apply to nonimmigrants (i.e., individuals coming to the U.S. temporarily) including: M-1 or F-1 Students, OPT, STEM OPT/ H-1B/H-4, L-1/L-2, TN, and all other temporary work visa holders, as well as H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions, or any filings for a temporary work visa or student visa made with the USCIS or at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.
For employers, you can continue filing any application with USCIS (including PERMs with the Department of Labor) that you intended to file before this proclamation. Your employees and prospective candidates can still apply for nonimmigrant visas at consulates or embassies once they re-open to the public. USCIS will continue to process nonimmigrant petitions and adjustment of status applications.
Read the full proclamation here.