On February 24, 2021, President Biden rescinded Presidential Proclamation 10014, which prohibited the entry of certain immigrants into the United States due to possible harm to economic interests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden asserts that the ban “harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world.”
Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10014, effective Apr. 23, 2020, had suspended the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant (i.e., to become a lawful permanent resident) who:
- Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
- Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.
The following categories of immigrants were exempted from Trump’s proclamation:
- Persons seeking to be readmitted or otherwise return to the U.S. as lawful permanent residents
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
- Individuals and their spouses or children seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional to perform work essential to combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees)
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
- Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).
Individuals who were in the process of seeking immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad, through a family-based or employment-based visa petition, have now had the way cleared to complete their visa processing, at least partially.
The regional COVID-19 bans (Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, and 10143) are still in place, so persons physically present in China, Iran, Schengen Area, UK, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa, remain ineligible for visas unless an exception applies.
Further, routine visa services that were suspended due to COVID-19 are still being resumed in phases. Consular posts that process immigrant visa applications are prioritizing Immediate Relative family members of U.S. citizens including intercountry adoptions, fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, and certain Special Immigrant Visa applications. Posts processing nonimmigrant visa applications are prioritizing travelers with urgent travel needs, foreign diplomats, and certain mission critical categories of travelers such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the pandemic, followed by students (F-1, M-1, and certain J-1) and temporary employment visas (consistent with Presidential Proclamation 10052).
Separately, although the immigrant visa ban has been revoked, Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending the entry of nonimmigrant workers for the same reasons, remains in place. That ban is scheduled to expires March 31.
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