Presidential Proclamation 10014 “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak,” was rescinded by President Biden on February 24, 2021. This is excellent news and another indicator that visa processing is slowly becoming functional.
The Department of State (DOS) has issued guidance on how immigrant visa issuance will be resumed.
Geographic Bans Still in Effect
Please note that the COVID-19 geographic bans are still in effect, which requires most people entering from China, Iran, the Schengen Area of Europe, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa to spend 14 days in a country that is not banned before entry to the United States unless a “national interest exception” is granted. Spouses and children of U.S. citizens and spouses and children of lawful permanent residents are excepted from these bans. However, others, including fiancés, remain subject to them. Some consulates have been refusing to interview anyone subject to the geographic bans unless another exception applies.
Also, many consulates remain closed except for emergency appointments, although DOS indicates in its notice that they are opening on a post-by-post basis, which we are seeing as well.
Temporary Work Visas Ban Still in Effect
Presidential Proclamation 10052, which bans entry for H-1Bs, H-2Bs, L-1s, and some J-1s unless a “national interest exception” applies, continues in effect and is set to expire March 31, 2021. We have no indication whether President Biden plans to revoke this ban, let it expire, or extend it, although many groups, including businesses who need workers, have been pushing for this restriction to end.