President Trump on June 22 issued a Proclamation expanding on his prior Apr. 23 Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. You can think of this as Proclamation version 2.0.
Extension of Ban on Certain Immigrants
Version 1.0 banned the entry of certain immigrants for a period of 60 days, ending June 22. Version 2.0 extends that ban through Dec. 31, 2020.
Exemption for Immigrants Approaching Age 21
Version 2.0 exempts noncitizen children who would as a result of the suspension in section 1 of Version 1 “age out” of eligibility for a visa by turning age 21.
Nonimmigrant Classification Covered
Version 2.0 suspends and limits the entry of any individual seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas:
(a) an H-1B (specialty occupation) or H-2B (temporary non-agricultural worker) visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual;
(b) a J (exchange visitor) visa, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual; and
(c) an L (intracompany transferee) visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual.
Situations Covered for Nonimmigrants
The proclamation shall apply only to any individual who:
(i) is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation (June 22);
(ii) does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
(iii) 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.
As a result, a nonimmigrant in the U.S. on June 22 should be able to depart the U.S. and return on their existing visa.
Similarly, under the plain language of the proclamation, a nonimmigrant who either is (i) is in the U.S. on June 22, or (ii) has a valid H, J, or L visa on that date should be able to qualify for a new visa. However, the State Department in a Facebook FAQ oddly is stating that such individuals “applying for a renewal are subject to the Proclamation.”
More controversially, arguably the Proclamation could be read to allow issuance of an H, J, or L visa and return to the U.S. of a person who held ANY nonimmigrant visa valid on June 22 (for example, a B1/B2 visa). Hopefully, the government will provide a clear interpretation on this point.
Exemptions for Nonimmigrants
The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any individual 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;
(iii) any individual seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
(iv) any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees. This may include persons who are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security; 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 United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.
Effective Date and Expiration
The proclamation is effective on June 22, shall expire on Dec. 31, 2020, and may be continued.