The Russians have a saying, “Nothing is more permanent than temporary,” and so it would seem for Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which block the issuance of immigrant visas (Green Cards) and the issuance of nonimmigrant visas H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1s until March 31, 2021.
The suspension and limitations on entry have not changed. These proclamations are extended in their entirety.
Limitations On New Green Cards
Presidential Proclamation 10014 blocks the issuances of Green Cards and applies to those individuals who on April 22, 2020, were:
- Outside the United States on the effective date (April 22, 2020);
- Did not have an immigrant visa (Green Card) that was valid on the effective date of the proclamation; and
- Did 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 the proclamation or later issued.
Limitations on the suspension of Green Cards includes but is not limited to non-applicability to immediate relatives of United States citizens, special exceptions for the entry of individuals who would further important United States law enforcement objectives, members of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children, and individuals whose entry would be in the national Interest.
Suspension Of Nonimmigrant Visas
Presidential Proclamation 10052 (effective date June 22, 2020) suspended nonimmigrant visas, including:
- H-1B or H-2B visas, and any nonimmigrant/alien accompanying or following to join;
- J visas, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any nonimmigrant/alien accompanying or following to join;
- L visas, and any nonimmigrant/alien accompanying or following to join.
Please note the term alien applies to anyone who is not a protected individual as defined under 8 USC § 1324b(a)(3). Protected individuals include:
- Permanent residents (holders of an unexpired 10-year Green Card)
- Conditional residents (holders of an unexpired 2-year Green Card)
- Temporary residents
- Refugees and those granted asylum
Change of status and extension by U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) are still being processed and granted. In addition, the suspension of the nonimmigrant visas mentioned above does have some limitations and does not apply to:
- Those who had a nonimmigrant visa in the categories noted above on or before June 22, 2020
- Nonimmigrants seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain
- Any nonimmigrant whose entry would be in the national interest
As a practical matter, the exceptions to Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 have not been uniformly or consistently applied, and when they are applied, the travel bans based on country and region still remain in effect.
Regional Travel Bans Related To The Pandemic
The regional travel bans that are COVID-19 related include:
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
Travel bans also apply to the European countries of the Schengen Region listed here:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City.
What The Future Holds
Many of these restrictions could change come January 20, 2021, but the negative effects of the pandemic have not abated much in almost a year. The new COVID-19 variants identified and associated with the UK (and perhaps South Africa) will likely result in continued regional travel bans for the foreseeable future.