Late in the evening of April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation suspending the entry of foreign nationals seeking to come to the U.S. as immigrants for a period of 60 days. The President’s stated rationale was to protect U.S. workers from foreign competition in employment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting worldwide economic disruption that has followed. Considering most visa services at U.S. Embassies abroad have already been suspended due to the pandemic, this Proclamation has a marginal impact. While a temporary suspension of immigrant visa admissions will have consequences for upwards of 50,000 foreign nationals, the long-term practical benefits of this Proclamation to the U.S. economy are certainly debatable.
What We Know About This Proclamation:
The immediate impact will be upon those outside the United States who seek to enter but do not currently have a valid immigrant visa, including:
- Parents, siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens and the spouses and all children of lawful permanent residents;
- PDiversity visa (“lottery”) applicants; and
- PEmployment-based green card applicants pursuing consular processing of their immigrant visas abroad.
- Foreign nationals presently in the United States are not impacted, but future international travel may be precluded if they do not already possess the necessary reentry documentation to return to the United States (eg: Form I-551 “green card,” nonimmigrant visa valid through the date of return, advance parole, etc);
There are significant exceptions to this Proclamation, which exempt the following:
- Lawful permanent residents (“LPR”);
- Spouses and minor children (unmarried, and less than 21 years old) of U.S. citizens, and prospective adoptees;
- Healthcare professionals and researchers working to fight COVID-19;
- EB-5 investors;
- Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses/children; and
- Certain “special immigrants,” those whose entry is in the “national interest” of the United States, or admissions that further U.S. law enforcement objectives.
- Decisions regarding applicability of the above exceptions will be made by individual consular officers;
- The Proclamation may be extended “as necessary,” and may be expanded to include nonimmigrant visa programs after review by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, U.S. Secretary of State, and Department of Homeland Security within thirty (30) days after implementation, and as deemed “appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers”;
- Asylum seekers are not included in this suspension; and
- Employment and family-based immigrant, nonimmigrant, as well as adjustment of status processing with USCIS will not be impacted.
What We Advise:
- Clients, employers and their employees, as well as derivative family members, should prepare for significant delays and the possibility of precluded international travel as a result of this Proclamation and other travel restrictions imposed by this Administration; and
- Continued vigilance in monitoring travel conditions with our assistance—please reach out by email or phone prior to any anticipated international travel. We are here to assist and will inform our clients of additional travel restrictions as they become known.