Presidential Proclamation Suspends Entry of H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 Nonimmigrants

June 23, 2020

This is an update to our previous post found here regarding the Presidential Proclamation limiting Immigrant Visa applicants to the U.S.  which has now been extended and includes H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 Nonimmigrants. The continuation of the original Proclamation impacting immigrant visa applicants is effective immediately. The suspension of the entry of certain nonimmigrants, detailed below, takes effect on June 24, 2020, at 12:01 am EST. The proclamation is set to expire on December 31, 2020, but may be continued at the discretion of the President under advisement from the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Labor.

The Proclamation found here suspends the issuance of visas for those seeking entry to the U.S. for the following nonimmigrant visa categories:

  • H-1B visa and any dependent H-4 visas;
  • H-2B visa and any dependent H-4 visas;
  • J visa, to the extent the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and J-2 dependent visas; and
  • L-1 and any L-2 dependent visas.

The Proclamation will only apply to an individual identified above if they are:

  • Outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;  AND
  • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation; AND
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.

The Proclamation will not apply to the following individuals:

  • lawful permanent residents;
  • spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 entrant who will provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
  • H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 entrant if entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees. For the purposes of determining who is covered under the “national interest” exemption, the Proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to determine standards for those to whom such an exemption would be available, including any individuals who are:
    •  critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
    • involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
    • involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
    •  necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
    • children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this proclamation or Proclamation 10014.
  •  J-1 entrant outside the US seeking to apply for a visa as a physician (graduate medical education or training), research or short-term scholar,  professor (non-tenure track), student,  specialist, or government or international visitor;
  • H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 (or dependent) nonimmigrant currently in the US in valid status; or
  • H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 (or dependent) nonimmigrant who is outside the U.S. and already in the possession of a valid H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 (or dependent) visa.  

The text of our summary was partially sourced from the excellent summary found here by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC).

We anticipate there will be more guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security as well as Department of State following this order and certainly we will update this posting accordingly.  Importantly,  an H-1B, H-2B J-1 or L-1 visa holder who is exempt from this order is still subject to the ongoing 14 day bar when seeking to return to the U.S. from Europe, China, Brazil, or Iran.

Given the complexity of this situation, we strongly recommend that any client in H-1B, H-2B, J-1 or L-1 status contact their attorney before making any plans to travel out of the U.S.

We recognize that this is an extremely stressful time for our clients and immigrants in general and will be happy to consult with you if you are not currently a client and have questions as to how this order may impact you.  Please call our office at 215-925-0705 or schedule a consultation online here.

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