Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Following the COVID-19 Outbreak
April 23, 2020
On April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals as immigrants. This proclamation does not impact those already in the United States pursuing green cards or working on temporary visas.
According to the text, this proclamation “shall expire 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary.” However, it remains to be seen whether or not this ban on the issuance of immigrant visas will pass legal challenges (other immigration orders have been struck down and/or limited in court). In the absence of a court-ordered injunction, the proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020.
Who is within the scope of this suspension?
The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation will apply only to foreign nationals who:
- Who are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;
- Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
- Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits them to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
What are the exceptions under this temporary proclamation?
The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation will not apply to:
- Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- Any foreign national seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such foreign national who are accompanying or following to join the foreign national;
- Any foreign national applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
- Any foreign national who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
- Any foreign national who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- Any foreign national whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
- Any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
- Any foreign national seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
- Any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
Will there be changes to this proclamation?
Many of the Trump administration’s past Executive Orders have been limited or struck down by the courts. According to the order as written, the administration will evaluate and “review nonimmigrant programs and will recommend to the president other measures they deem appropriate.”
The original order proposed by the president contained much larger restrictions and it became very limited after push back from immigration rights allies.
If you have any specific questions about your case and how this proclamation may affect it, please contact your attorney and we will be happy to help with any questions or concerns during this uncertain time. We will update our website as changes are made.