U.S. Entry Ban on Temporary Workers: State Department and CBP Update

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The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have provided initial guidance clarifying the scope of Donald Trump’s June 22 proclamation banning the entry of certain H, L and J visa holders.

According to Department of State FAQs posted in a Twitter thread:

  • The proclamation does not revoke visas that are valid on June 24, 2020.   Foreign nationals with H, L, and J visas valid on June 24 (and their dependent spouses and children with valid visas)  may continue to be admitted to the U.S. during the visa validity period. This includes foreign nationals who have not yet entered the U.S. on their previously issued valid visas.
  • Renewal of H, L and J visas is subject to the proclamation’s restrictions. If a foreign national’s visa is valid on June 24, but subsequently expires, the individual will not  be permitted to renew the visa  and enter the U.S. while the proclamation is in effect.
  • Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. in valid H, L or J status, but whose passport visas have expired or will expire before December 31, 2020, may remain in the U.S. and extend their status as otherwise  permitted; however, if  these individuals depart the U.S., they may not be readmitted to the U.S. while the proclamation remains in effect.
  • Beneficiaries of approved H or L petitions or the covered J programs who were waiting for a visa appointment and who did not have a valid visa on June 24 will not be permitted to obtain a  visa and enter the U.S. while the proclamation is in effect, despite having an approved petition.
  • Physicians applying for J visas are not subject to the proclamation. By the terms of the proclamation, J-1 research scholars should also not be subject to the ban.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has also reported that CBP Headquarters  confirmed that Canadian citizens are not subject to the proclamation. (Canadians are not generally required to obtain visas, and as a result, are exempt from the proclamation.) In view of this exemption:

  • Canadian citizens entering the U.S. in H, L or J status may continue to enter the U.S. in H, L or J status, even as first time applicants for admission.
  • Canadian citizens may continue to  renew H, L and J status as otherwise permitted, and may be readmitted to the U.S. after international travel.
  • Dependent spouses and children who are Canadian citizens are exempt from the proclamation and  may continue to be admitted to the U.S. in H, L or J status. However, this only applies to Canadian citizens. Dependent spouses and children of Canadian citizens who are not themselves Canadian citizens do require a valid visa to enter the U.S. and are covered by the proclamation.

Background

On June 22, 2020 the Trump Administration issued the proclamation banning the entry of certain H, L and J visa holders, and extending a prior ban on the admission of individuals entering with immigrant visas. The ban took effect on  June 24, 2020 and will remain in place until at least December 31, 2020.  Additional information about the ban is available at Gibney.  The June 22 proclamation banning entry of certain nonimmigrant workers  does not apply to the B, E, F, O, P and TN visa categories. However, the coronavirus-related travel bans generally restricting entry to the U.S. from Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland, China, Iran, and Brazil, as well as the land border restrictions at the U.S., Canadian and Mexican borders, remain in place.

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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