Further Updates and Exceptions to Presidential Proclamation For Dependents on H, L, J, and F Visas

July 17, 2020

The State Department has clarified certain exceptions regarding the Presidential Proclamation restricting the issuance of H, L, and J visas. Our original posting regarding the proclamation can be found here. Additional updates and clarifications from the federal government thus far can be found here, and regarding Canadian nationals, here 

Under the clarified rules for dependents and others outside the US, there are three limited exceptions for “humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security” and other travel exceptions for those seeking a reissue of their visas: 

  • Applicants who are subject to aging out of their current immigrant visa classification before the relevant proclamations expire or within two weeks thereafter;
  • Certain H and J visa applicants who are traveling to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy objective (such as COVID-19 response) and/or traveling at the request of the U.S. government;
  • spouses and children (dependents) of certain visa class holders, such as H, J, and L visa holders who are already excepted from, or not subject to the proclamation. 


The Department of State further clarifies they will continue to 

issue H, L, and J  visas to otherwise qualified applicants who are otherwise currently excepted or where the principal applicant is currently in the United States. 

Applicants for immigrant visas covered by the proclamation, including  Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants, who have not been issued an immigrant visa as of April 23 are subject to the proclamation’s restrictions unless eligible for an exception.  No valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation. 


Further, US embassies and consulates are beginning the phased resumption of routine visa services. The services currently provided by each embassy or consulate will depend on local conditions. Please check consular post websites for post specific updates.  

Finally, students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas and their dependents may travel to the US while these Proclamations are in effect. They do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request. 


Given the complexity of this situation, we strongly recommend that any client on H, L or J 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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