President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday (April 22, 2020) that temporarily blocks some individuals outside the United States from obtaining US permanent residency. The executive order included a number of exemptions and was not a full suspension of legal immigration. The order goes into effect at 11:59 pm (ET) on April 23, 2020, for at least 60 days. It can be extended and modified.
Who will be affected?
- Those outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Those that do not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
- Those that do not have a valid official travel document as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.
Who is exempt? How long will it last?
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- Individuals, and their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professionals; or to perform medical research or other work essential to combating COVID-19 (as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS))
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
- Spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, including prospective adoptees on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by DHS and DOS)
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
- Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by DHS and DOS)
Nonimmigrant Visa Holders and Asylum Seekers Are NOT Prohibited from Coming to the U.S. by the Proclamation
- Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended as of March 20, 2020. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. DOS intends to continue to process visa applications for farm workers and medical professionals assisting with COVID-19.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, but continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
- The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are closed for non-essential travel until at least May 20, 2020.
- With some exceptions, the entry of individuals who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, during the 14-day period before their attempted entry into the United States has also been suspended.
- The Proclamation requires a review of temporary visa programs within 30 days and recommendations to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.