Rescission of "Immigrant Visa Ban"

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In its latest action to reverse Trump-era immigration policies, on February 24, 2021, the Biden Administration rescinded Presidential Proclamation 10014, “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following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.” This proclamation had halted the issuance of immigrant visas to most individuals abroad seeking to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents. This proclamation overwhelmingly impacted those seeking immigrant visas in the family-based categories; in rescinding the proclamation, President Biden asserted that PP 10014 “harm[ed] the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.”

Individuals who were in the process of seeking immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad, based on either a family-based or employment-based visa petition, or those who had been selected in the Diversity Visa lottery, have now had the way cleared to complete their visa processing. However, even for those cases that were/are simply awaiting a visa interview at a consular post abroad, it is likely that further delays will be experienced while consular posts work through the backlog created while PP 10014 was in effect. The Department of State has estimated there are at least 473,000 qualified family-based applicants in the queue awaiting an interview. With nearly all consular posts still operating at limited capacity, this backlog is likely to persist for some time.

The rescission of PP 10014 follows the recent termination of the so-called “Muslim Ban” which had itself restricted immigrant visa issuance to citizens of several predominantly Muslim nations.

As a point of clarity, the rescission of PP 10014, the “immigrant visa ban,” does not impact Presidential Proclamation 10052, dealing with the availability of and restrictions on H/J/L nonimmigrant visas, which remains in effect. The “H/J/L visa ban” is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021, and we are awaiting further indications as to whether that proclamation will be further extended or allowed to expire.

Likewise, the termination of PP 10014 does not impact the numerous Presidential Proclamations issued throughout 2020 and in early 2021 that restrict the ability to travel to the United States for individuals who have been physically present in certain countries (China, Iran, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Schengen Area, and South Africa) within the 14 days prior to entering the U.S. These restrictions are still in place, with no set expiration date, and travelers must therefore take caution before planning any trips outside of the United States.

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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