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Trump’s Proclamation Suspends H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 Visas for Applicants Outside the U.S.

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The most recent executive order which attempts to reduce immigration to the U.S. was issued late this afternoon, June 22, 2020.  With some exemptions, it suspends the “entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to” an H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 visa.  J-1 visas for interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors , au pairs, or summer work travel program are also suspended.  However, J-1 visas for graduate medical education are not suspended.  Visas for dependent spouses and children of these visa categories are also suspended.

The suspension described in the proclamation  ONLY applies to those who are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid, unexpired visa stamp in their passports.  Those who have a valid, unexpired visa stamp or another travel document such as an advance parole document, transportation letter, or board foil are still able to enter the U.S. with those documents.

H-1B, L-1, J-1, or H-2B workers physically present in the U.S. are not affected by the suspension unless they travel outside the U.S. without a valid visa stamp.   The proclamation does not apply to any alien who will provide temporary labor essential to the “United States food supply chain” or whose entry would be in the national interest.  How an alien would qualify under the national interest waiver exemption will be determined by the Department of Homeland Security or Department of State. According to the proclamation, national interest categories include aliens who:

  • Are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
  • Are involved with medical care to COVID-19 hospitalized patients;
  • Are involved with medical research to help combat COVID-19; or
  • Are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery.

The proclamation also directs the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security to consider promulgating regulations to ensure that EB-2, EB-3, or H-1B applicants in the U.S. or outside the U.S. do not “disadvantage United States workers.”

The proclamation is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on June 24, 2020.   It also extends the immigrant visa suspension (Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020) until December 31, 2020, which means parents of U.S. citizens, among others, will not receive immigrant visas until the suspension is ended.

Our office will contact clients who are directly affected to discuss options if any.

This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances.  For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-393-4917, complete my contact form

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