Updated June 25, 2020
President Trump signed an executive order on June 22, 2020, titled "Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak."
Citing high unemployment levels caused by COVID-19, President Trump issued the proclamation suspending entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals in certain work visa categories, including H-1B workers, until the end of the calendar year. The order goes into effect on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time and will remain in place for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas until December 31, 2020. The order will be reviewed every 60-days for potential modifications.
Which visa categories are affected by the proclamation?
- H-1B specialty occupation workers
- L-1 intracompany transferees
- H-2B seasonal workers
- J exchange visitors (certain categories only - the proclamation does not affect J-1 students, J-1 research scholars/professors, J-1 short-term scholars, or the J-2 dependents of these categories, as well as student interns or ECFMG alien physicians)
- dependents of those in the categories above
Which visas are not affected by the proclamation? Visa categories not named in the proclamation include:
- B-1/B-2 visitors
- E-3 professionals
- F-1 and J-1 students (and their dependents)
- F-1 OPT and J-1 Academic Training
- O visa holders of extraordinary ability
- TN professionals from Canada or Mexico
- the proclamation does not affect J-1 students, J-1 research scholars/professors, J-1 short-term scholars, or the J-2 dependents of these categories, as well as student interns or ECFMG alien physicians
Under the new proclamation, a worker in any of the affected classifications may not enter the U.S. during the effective period of the proclamation if they meet all of the following conditions as of June 24, 2020:
- is outside of the U.S. on June 24, 2020
- does not have a valid nonimmigrant visa stamp on June 24, 2020
- does not have another valid travel document, such as advance parole, permitting travel to the U.S.
Therefore, the proclamation does not apply to H-1B, L-1, H-2B or J-1 workers who were in the U.S. on June 24; or those who hold a valid nonimmigrant visa stamp; or those who hold another valid travel document that permits entry to the U.S.
Examples of those not impacted:
- an H-1B worker currrently outside the U.S. who holds a valid H-1B visa stamp in their passport will be able to return from travel abroad during the validity period of the proclamation
- H-1B employees currently in the U.S. (please consult with OIA if you have international travel plans)
- a worker in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1 OPT or J-1 research scholar) who will be applying to USCIS for a change of status to H-1B
- a new or current J-1 research scholar or professor either abroad or in the U.S. is not impacted by the proclamation (neither their J-2 dependents)
F-1 students and F-1 OPT and STEM OPT, as well as J-1 students, J-1 on Academic Training (and both F-2 and J-2 dependents) were not included in today's order. The executive order does not suspend processing for new F-1 or J-1 student visas, although the current suspension of routine visa services worldwide due to COVID-19 remains in effect. F-1 OPT and the STEM OPT extension remain in tact.
Exceptions to today's order include:
- legal permanent residents
- spouse/children of U.S. citizens
- workers seeking to enter the U.S. to provide services essential to the U.S. food supply chain
- workers whose entry would be "in the national interest" as determined by the Department of State or Department of Homeland Security
Update on June 24, 2020: according to immigration experts with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, there are two additional exemptions:
- The proclamation should not apply to immigration benefits available to individuals inside the U.S., such as change of status to H-1B (see above);
- Since Canadian citizens are generally exempt from the visa requirement, they should be exempt from this proclamation.
The proclamation provides that the agencies shall establish standards to define which categories qualify for the national interest exemption, including those who are:
- critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the U.S.;
- involved in medical care or medical research related to the COVID-19 pandemic; or
- necessary to facilitate the economic recovery of the U.S.
Additional information related to establishes standards will be shared as they become available.
- The full text of the order is available here.
- White House Fact Sheet is available here.
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators analysis is available here.
- President Zimmer and Provost Lee's message on this order is available here.
We continue to monitor the situation and will share additional analysis and information as soon as it becomes available. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to OIA Director, Nick Seamons.