President Trump signed a proclamation on June 22, 2020 that suspends the entry of foreign nationals in the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, J-1 categories, and related categories for dependents, with some exceptions. The nonimmigrant ban takes effect at 12:01am EDT on June 24, and will be in place through December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary. Please note that this proclamation extends the April 22nd proclamation.
The proclamation is part of the Trump Administration’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the entry bans, President Trump also ordered the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security to promulgate regulations that could make it more challenging for foreign nationals to be sponsored for H-1B nonimmigrant status or for green cards in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. These future regulations will most probably be challenged by court action.
What this means is that many foreign nationals with plans to enter the United States to begin work in H-1B, H-2B, L-1 or J-1 status, as well as their accompanying or joining dependents, may be unable to do so until the ban expires, unless they are sponsored for and obtain a waiver of the entry restrictions, or unless the ban is enjoined by a court.
This ban does not affect foreign nationals who are present in the United States or already hold valid visas.
Note, foreign nationals who are exempt from the new proclamation remain subject to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, which could impede their ability to enter or reenter the United States.
The proclamation restricts the entry of the following categories of nonimmigrants, if they are outside the United States as of 12:01am EDT on June 24 and do not hold a valid visa, advance parole or other U.S. travel document:
- H-1B and H-2B nonimmigrants;
- L-1A executives and managers;
- L-1B specialized knowledge workers;
- J-1 interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs and Summer Work Travel participants; and
- Their dependent spouses and children.
We will continue to seek clarification regarding Canadian nationals seeking admission in the above classifications. Canadians are visa exempt.
The following categories of foreign nationals are exempt from the entry ban:
- Foreign nationals present in the United States at 12:01am EDT on June 24, 2020. This includes those in the United States awaiting a change of status under the FY 2021 H-1B cap;
- Foreign nationals holding a valid visa, advance parole or other U.S. travel document on June 24, even if they are outside the United States when the ban takes effect;
- U.S. lawful permanent residents;
- The spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
- J-1 exchange program participants other than interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs and summer work travel participants; and
- Foreign nationals entering to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain.
The proclamation also provides for discretionary waivers of the restrictions for foreign nationals whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, including those who are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States, those involved with clinical care or research related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of COVID-19, and those who are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the United States.
Please reach out to your Greenspoon Marder LLP Immigration & Naturalization Practice Group attorney for any questions or concerns. Click here to stay updated on our weekly alerts.