In April 2020, President Trump issued Proclamation 10014 which declared a ban on certain employment-based non-immigrant visas and some immigrant visas due to concerns relating to COVID-19. In June 2020, the administration extended the ban through Proclamation 10052 (“Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak”). This proclamation extended the visa suspension with an expiration date of December 31, 2020.
This week, the White House issued the “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market,” which further extends the visa suspension with a tentative expiration date of March 31, 2021. According to the new proclamation, the immigration restrictions will be reviewed every 30 days leading up to the scheduled expiration date to determine whether or not they need to be adjusted or extended.
The primary purpose of Trump’s visa ban is to protect the US economy and job market during the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain direct relatives of US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are still eligible for immigrant visas under the proclamation, many others must wait for the suspension to be lifted before the consular post in their home country will approve their visa.
Despite the recent extension, it is reasonable to expect that President-elect Biden will adjust or possibly overturn the proclamation upon taking office later this month. Visa applicants should continue providing the required forms and documents so that an interview can be scheduled or visa can be issued as soon as the suspension is cancelled or expires in March.
Per the original Proclamation issued last year, the following groups are exempted from the visa ban:
- Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- Any alien who is the spouse or child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), of a United States citizen;
- Any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
- Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.