Biden Revokes Immigrant Visa Ban

Jackson Lewis P.C.

President Joe Biden has revoked the immigrant visa ban because he believes it did not advance the interests of the United States, but instead harmed United States industries, families, and diversity immigrant visa lottery winners.

The ban was put in place by former President Donald Trump in April 2020 on the stated ground that it was necessary to protect U.S. workers in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has prevented individuals who were abroad from seeking to enter the United States as permanent residents. Originally set to last for only 60 days, the ban was extended through March 31, 2021, by President Trump. The immigrant visa prohibition prevented some talented employment-based applicants from entering, but most of the people affected were diversity visa lottery winners, as well as family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, who were prevented from joining their families in the United States.

This is now the third Trump travel ban that Biden has terminated. The first two were the bans that prevented individuals from 13 primarily Muslim or African countries from entering the United States. Still in effect is the nonimmigrant visa ban that has been thwarting U.S. businesses by preventing certain applicants for H, L, or J status from obtaining visas or coming to the United States absent an exemption or a national interest exception. This ban, like the immigrant visa ban, is still set to terminate on March 31, 2021, but it is not clear if that will happen.

The other travel ban that has been making it difficult for businesses to function is the 14-day ban that prohibits U.S. entry by individuals who have been in over 30 countries (China, Iran, the U.K., Ireland, the 26 Schengen countries, Brazil, and South Africa) in the 14days prior to their arrival in the United States. This ban, unlike the immigrant and nonimmigrant visa bans, is based on COVID-19-related health concerns.

The Department of State has issued specific instructions on how to proceed for 2020 Diversity Visa Applicants and immigrant visa applicants who were previously refused visas or entry due to the April 2020 proclamation. In addition, the Secretary of State has granted a national interest exception for 2020 Diversity Visa Applicants who hold valid visas but are subject to one of the 14-day bans.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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