On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant. This proclamation went into effect the evening of April 23, 2020 and is valid for 60 days. The President maintained the right to extend and modify this order.
This order affects individuals seeking to enter the United States as immigrants who:
- Are outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Do not have an approved and valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
- Do not have a valid official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.
The following individuals are exempt from the proclamation:
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- Individuals, and their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional to perform medical research or other work essential to combatting COVID-19 (as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS))
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
- Spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, including prospective adoptees on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by DHS and DOS)
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
- Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by DHS and DOS)
This proclamation also does not currently affect nonimmigrant visas or asylum seekers. However, spouses and children of lawful permanent residents will be affected by the executive order and the cases will be held for 60 days.
The proclamation requires a review of temporary visa programs within 30 days and recommendations to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.
In light of this proclamation, it is important to take into consideration that routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended as of March 20, 2020. There is no set date for when the consulates are expected to reopen. As it currently stands, consulates are only processing cases based on an emergency basis.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, but continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status. This proclamation does not affect USCIS processing times. This means that individuals are still able to file family petitions, employment petitions, and other types of immigration petitions. Furthermore, it does not appear as though this proclamation will affect applications for adjustment of status for individuals present in the United States.
Anyone who has questions or needs help with the immigration issues above may reach out to me by email clicking the “contact me” button, or reach me by phone via Cramer & Anderson’s Danbury office at (203) 744-1234.