Biden Revokes Trump-era COVID-19 Visa Ban

Erick Widman

An exciting announcement came on 24 February when President Biden lifted the Trump-era ban on certain types of immigrant and non-immigrant visas (Proclamation 10014). This move directly addresses the travel ban in America, marking a significant shift from the previous presidential proclamation travel ban. The backlog of visa applications may take years to sift through unless the Biden administration has a strategic plan for that issue as well. Regardless, it represents a critical step toward a more equitable immigration policy, embodying one of the many executive orders President Biden has undertaken to dismantle Trump’s stringent anti-immigration stances.

The ban was intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 but resulted in many students, workers, and close family members of US citizens and lawful Permanent Residents being barred from entry for many months. These travel bans not only harmed businesses but also put undue stress on families, illustrating a stark example of travel bans for Americans and the broader implications of travel bans to the US. The ban’s end will now enable certain students and employees, as well as parents of US citizens and children of lawful Permanent Residents, to complete their applications and enter the US upon approval. This includes green card applications and work visas for skilled workers across the H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1, and J categories, marking a significant update on the travel ban.

Biden’s Proclamation Revoking Immigrant Ban

On 22 April 2020, President Trump declared a significant immigration ban, underscored by the presidential proclamation travel ban, which was extended shortly before he left office. Initially set to expire at the month’s end, this policy was a cornerstone of Trump’s travel ban, aiming to restrict immigration to manage the pandemic’s impact.

Biden's Proclamation Revoking Immigrant Ban

By revoking this freeze, Biden not only countered a critical aspect of Trump’s travel bans but also articulated a broader critique of such policies. He noted that the order did not advance U.S. interests, highlighting the adverse effects on industries and individuals alike. This proclamation asserts Biden’s stance on travel bans on the US, emphasizing a departure from policies that have barred immigration on broad terms.

Further, the Biden Administration’s proclamation takes a detailed look at the harms inflicted by the ban, notably on individuals poised to contribute to the US through diversity visas. It underscores a commitment to rectifying the overarching ban on immigration, signaling a new phase in U.S. visa policy.

In the wake of these changes, discussions around travel bans for the US and the broader implications of Trump’s travel ban have surged, reflecting on how such policies have shaped immigration and travel dynamics. With the Biden visa adjustments, there’s renewed hope for those affected by the US visa ban, particularly concerning countries banned from the green card lottery and the broader scope of banned immigration.

President Biden made a big change. He asked the Departments of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to look at the rules and make new ones that fit with his new proclamation.

President Trump had stopped new immigrants from getting green cards during the pandemic. He said this big step was needed to keep jobs in the U.S. and for public health. He also stopped giving short-term work visas to skilled workers, managers, and au pairs in the H-4, H-2B, L-1, H-1B, and J categories.

Exceptions to Non-Immigrant Ban

Biden didn’t end the stop on these short-term work visas right away. It’s not clear if his team will end this ban before it’s supposed to stop.

The State Department said on 24 February 2021 that people who think they might have a special reason to be allowed in should check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website. They should follow the steps there to ask for an urgent meeting and explain why they think they should be allowed.

Exceptions to Non-Immigrant Ban

Biden mentioned that the old policy stopped people who could live their dream in the United States from coming in. This could mean losing their chance.

The change made by Biden means lots of people from other countries who were waiting can now apply for their much-wanted visas right away.


The change Biden made by ending the immigrant visa ban is good news for many who couldn’t come to the U.S. or apply for immigrant visas because of the ban. This ban mostly affected families. However, Biden’s action didn’t stop the work visa ban from 22 June 2020 (Proclamation 10052) that stopped certain short-term non-immigrant visa categories, including L-1, H-1B, and J-1 visas.

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