The Russian’s have a saying “Nothing is more permanent than temporary” and so it would seem for President 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.
Presidential Proclamation 10014 blocks the issuances of Green Cards and applies to those individuals who on April 22, 2020 were:
(i) Outside the United States on the effective date (April 22, 2020);
(ii) Did not have an immigrant visa (Green Card) that was valid on the effective date of the proclamation;
(iii) 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.
Presidential Proclamation 10052 effective date June 22, 2020 suspended nonimmigrant visas including:
- H-1B or H-2B visa, 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 visa, 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.
The suspension of the nonimmigrant visas captioned 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;
- Change of status and extension by US Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) are still being processed and granted;
- Nonimmigrants seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
- 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 there is still the travel bans based on country and region that also remain in effect.
The regional travel bans that are Covid-19 related include:
Republic of Ireland
And the European countries of the Schengen Region listed:
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, and Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.
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 continuation of regional travel bans for the foreseeable future.