What Do Trump’s Coronavirus Visa Restrictions Mean?

Visas Restrictions For the Next Year

On June 22, 2020, the Trump administration issued a follow up proclamation to the April 22 proclamation that imposed visa restrictions and suspended the entry of non-citizens to the United States as immigrants. While the April 2020 proclamation targeted immigrant visas applications, the new proclamation imposes new restrictions on non-immigrant visas. As a result of the two proclamations, both immigrant and selected non-immigrant visa services are suspended until December 31, 2020.

The new proclamation comes as the result of fears about the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on the U.S. labor force, which has suffered millions of new unemployment cases over the past few months. The most recent proclamation seeks to reduce the number of non-immigrants seeking work in the United States in an effort to counteract the disparity between labor supply and labor demand.

The new proclamation imposes visa restrictions by suspending entry into the United States from June 24 to December 31, 2020 for:

  • H-1B and H-2B visas
  • J visas for interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs or those taking part in summer work travel programs
  • L visas
  • Any non-citizen, including family members, seeking to accompany any of the above visa holders

However, the proclamation also states that these suspensions will only apply those who:

  • are outside the United States as of June 24, 2020
  • do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of June 24,2020
  • do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole travel document) that is valid as of June 24

Which Visas Can Still Be Applied For?

The following non-immigrant visas remain unaffected:

  • A, Diplomat or foreign government official
  • A-2 NATO1-6, Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States
  • B-1, Athlete, amateur or professional competing for prize money
  • B-2, Medical treatment
  • BCC, Border Crossing Card: Mexico
  • C, Transiting the United States
  • CW-1, CNMI-only transitional worker
  • D, Crew Member
  • E, Treaty trader/treaty investor
  • E-3, Australian professional specialty
  • F, M, Student: academic, vocational
  • G1-G5, NATO, Employee of a designated international organization or NATO
  • H-2A, Temporary agricultural worker
  • H-3, Training in a program not primarily for employment
  • I, Media/journalist
  • O, Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
  • P, Performing athlete, artist, or entertainer
  • Q, International cultural exchange visitor
  • R, Religious worker
  • T, Victim of Human Trafficking
  • TN/TD, NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada
  • U, Victim of Criminal Activity
  • V, Nonimmigrant visa for Spouse and Children of Lawful Permanent Resident

What Current Visa Holders in the US Need to Know

As stated in the proclamations, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and non-citizens who are or were inside the United States as of June 24, or those holding valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visas as of June 24 are not affected by the proclamation. Likewise, neither proclamation revokes valid visas.

However, nonimmigrant visas are not able to be extended, although the majority of nonimmigrant visas are valid for several years. Visa holders should check the visa in their passport to confirm the dates that their visa is valid through.

Non-citizens unaffected by the ban may still be subject to increased screening or delays upon entering the United States. The two proclamations direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish standards and procedures at and between all ports of entry to better control travel and exposure. This includes the possible medical screening and quarantine of those seeking to enter the United States and who may have been exposed to the virus. As a result, airlines may restrict or regulate the boarding of flight to the United States for passengers who may have the virus.

Consult With the Immigration Attorneys at Johnson & Masumi

Trump’s coronavirus visa restrictions can make applying for visas and immigration benefits a very long and complicated affair, so it is recommended that visa applicants seek counsel from an experienced immigration lawyer. Immigration law and policies are changing regularly due to the coronavirus pandemic so having an experienced immigration lawyer who stays up to date on the changes will be critical to achieving success in your case. Although it may be tempting to try to handle the process on your own, it is strongly cautioned that you avoid doing so. As of September 11, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy that applies to all visa applications, petitions, and requests, except for DACA cases.

This policy grants immigration officers full discretion to deny any applications or petitions that are incomplete or ineligible. This means that if you make a mistake in your application process, your case can be denied and you will not be reimbursed for your filing fees. Consulting with an immigration attorney ensures that your case is handled smoothly and competently from the start, and gives you the best possible chance of getting your application approved. To learn more about eligibility requirements or for help in navigating the application process, contact the expert immigration lawyers at Johnson & Masumi.

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