On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who:
Is outside of the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
Does not have a valid official travel document on the effective date or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.
The proclamation went into effect on April 23, 2020 and will remain in effect for at least 60 days from that date. It can, however, be extended and modified.
Who does the proclamation impact?
The proclamation applies to any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who is outside of the U.S. on or after April 23, 2020, does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date, and does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) issued by the effective date of the temporary suspension. The proclamation does include several exemption categories.
We recommend seeking the advice of an immigration lawyer or specialist to determine whether or not you are impacted by the proclamation.
Who is exempted from the proclamation?
The following categories of individuals are exempted from the proclamation:
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs or “green card holders”)
Individuals, and their spouses and/or children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other work essential to combating COVID-19 (as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS))
Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. under the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
Spouses of U.S. citizens
Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21, including prospective adoptees on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by DHS and DOS)
Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses and/or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa
Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by DHS and DOS)
Are any groups not included in the ban?
Nonimmigrant visa holders and asylum seekers are not prohibited from coming to the U.S. by the proclamation.
While the proclamation currently does not restrict nonimmigrant visas (including those for work, travel, or leisure), this could change. The proclamation requires that within 30 days of the effective date, the Secretaries of Labor and DHS, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and recommend to the President other appropriate measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring, and employment” of U.S. workers.
As for asylum seekers, individuals can still apply for asylum or refugee status consistent with U.S. law and conventions.
Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended (as of March 20, 2020). U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least June 4, 2020, but continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are closed for non-essential travel until May 20, 2020.