On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry into the US of people in H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 (for some categories) status, and their dependents.
WHO DOES THIS AFFECT?
The Proclamation applies to people who are
(a) Outside the US on the effective date (June 24, 2020) of the Proclamation; AND
(b) Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date; AND
(c) Do not have another valid travel document (e.g. Advance Parole) allowing them to enter the US.
WHEN DOES THE BAN TAKE EFFECT?
June 24, 2020 at 12.01 am Eastern US time until December 31, 2020.
WHO IS NOT AFFECTED?
ARE THERE WAIVERS?
Yes. The proclamation states that foreign nationals who meet the following criteria could be considered exempt:
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A WAIVER?
The waiver must be requested from the consulate that would issue the visa. Since nobody has applied for a waiver yet - and consulates are still closed anyway - we don't have any details of what criteria might be accepted.
WHAT ABOUT CANADIANS WHO DON'T NEED VISAS?
It is not clear how the ban will affect Canadians who can enter the US in H-1B, L-1, etc status without needing a visa stamp on their passports.
I HAVE A B-1/B-2 VISA IN MY PASSPORT. CAN I USE THAT TO ENTER THE US AND THEN CHANGE TO H-1B/L-1, ETC?
We do not recommend this strategy. It is tempting, but this would be misrepresenting your intention on entry. At worst, it could be considered fraud and result in a permanent, non-waivable, bar to US entry. The proclamation specifically states that
An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security. (Sec 4(b))
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "VISA" AND "STATUS"?
The visa is the stamp on your passport that allows you enter the US. Your "status" is your classification once you are inside the US, as shown on your most recent I=94. You get an I-94 when you enter the US each time, and also when you extend or change status from within the US.
Someone could have come on a visa that expired years ago, but as long as she filed extensions and got new I-94s each time, she is fine. She doesn't need a new visa until she leaves and needs to re-enter the US.
For more information please contact us and check out our YouTube channel
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.