H, L, and J Visa Ban Expires

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Mintz - Immigration Viewpoints

It has been widely reported that President Biden will not renew the June 2020 Presidential Proclamation, which restricted the entry of H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 travelers into the United States. This nonimmigrant visa ban expired on March 31, 2021.

Background

On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation restricting the entry of certain nonimmigrants into the United States. The Proclamation indicated that the new restriction would apply only to H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 travelers who were outside the United States and not in possession of a valid visa or travel document as of the effective date of June 24, 2020. On December 31, 2020, President Trump extended this travel ban through March 31, 2021. For further details on this Proclamation and its impact, please see our prior alerts.

As a result of this visa ban, many individuals were either prevented from applying for a visa to enter the United States or were required to file a National Interest Exception request to a U.S. consular post in order to obtain a visa.

Visa Ban Expires, and Will Not Be Renewed by President Biden

A number of sources have reported that President Biden will not renew this visa ban. This means that individuals who were subject to the visa ban may now schedule a nonimmigrant visa appointment at a U.S. consular post and apply for their visa.

Please note, there still may be obstacles in scheduling a nonimmigrant visa appointment and obtaining an H, L, or J visa. Most consular posts still have limited appointment availability due to local restrictions related to COVID-19. In addition, appointment availability may be impacted as consular posts work to clear significant immigrant visa backlogs. Furthermore, COVID-19-related travel bans are still in place for individuals who are physically present in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, and the Schengen area of Europe. For a complete summary of travel restrictions and bans, please see our Travel Alert, which we continue to update as restrictions are changed.

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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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