On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation to both suspend and limit the entry of certain nonimmigrant visa holders into the United States effective June 24, 2020, through December 31, 2020, based upon the current loss of jobs and unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Within 30 days of June 24, 2020, and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend any modifications as may be necessary."

The following nonimmigrants are affected:

  1. Those with an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;
  2. Those with a J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien; and
  3. Those with an L visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.

The proclamation applied to anyone outside of the United States on the effective date of June 24, 2020; who does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of this effective date; and does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

The suspension and limitation on entry does not apply to:

  1. Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  2. Any alien who is the spouse or child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), of a United States citizen;
  3. Any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
  4. Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees.

Entry of aliens in the national interest may include those deemed to be critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.  

In addition, the proclamation asks the Secretary of Labor to review processes or take actions regarding individuals in the United States or those seeking admission or a benefit pursuant to an EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa to be sure that they do not disadvantage U.S. workers.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall set up a registration system and take appropriate actions regarding individuals subject to orders of removal. In addition, the Secretary of Homeland Security is tasked with considering promulgating regulations or taking other appropriate action regarding the efficient allocation of visas and ensuring that the presence in the United States of H-1B nonimmigrants does not disadvantage U.S. workers. 

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team's webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact any of the attorneys in the Immigration Law Group, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Originally published by Duane Morris, on June 2020

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.