President Trump issued a proclamation “Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” This proclamation became effective on April 23, 2020 and will expire 60 days from its effective date.
1. Who is covered by the Proclamation?
The ban applies to any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who is outside of the United States on April 23, 2020 and does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date, and is not in possession of a valid travel documents (such as a transportation letter, boarding foidl or advance parole document) effective on or after the date of the temporary suspension.
Those severely affected are those outside the United States who are immigrant applicants.
2. Who are exempt from the suspension of immigration?
Among others, these are the categories of individuals who are not affected by the Proclamation:
- Those adjusting status in the United States.
- Green card holders or immigrant visa holders at the time of the proclamation. If an individual is already in possession of an immigrant visa or green card before the Proclamation, they can still travel back to the United States.
- Those with temporary travel documents can still enter the U.S. Examples are individuals in possession of transportation letters issued by the U.S. Embassy, re-entry permits and advance parole issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Health care workers, professionals and other essential medical workers alleviating the effects of COVID-19 are exempt
- Temporary visa holders such as tourists, student visa holders and working visa holders. They can still enter the U.S. if their visas are still valid.
- Minor children (below 21 years old) and spouses of U.S. citizens may still continue to be processed for their immigrant visas and travel to the U.S.
3. A tourist visa holder plans to visit his U.S. citizen parent during this pandemic, will he still be allowed to enter the United States?
Yes. As long as the tourist visa is still valid, the traveler may still enter the United States as tourist visa holders are non-immigrant visa holders that are not covered by the Proclamation.
4. Are other non-immigrant visas such as student visa holders or those with working visas still allowed to enter?
Yes. As long as the student visa and working visa holders have valid visas, they will still be considered and permitted to enter the United States. For those with working visas, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, they have to make sure that they still have jobs from their U.S. employers to avoid the technicality of having the working visa be declared void. This refers to working visas that are employer specific such as the professional H1B visas.
5. A beneficiary of an approved visa petition was issued a printed immigrant visa on his passport after an interview with the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy. He was not able to enter travel to the U.S. yet and now wants to plan on going to the U.S. He is afraid that the Trump Proclamation will apply to him and would result in his inability to travel to the U.S. Will this individual be prevented from entering the United States because of the Proclamation?
No. The Proclamation does not affect those who are in possession of immigrant visas. Although he has not received his actual green card, he is considered to have gone through a completed process for him to be considered as an immigrant visa holder, hence, he can travel to the United States.
6. If the individual who was issued an immigrant visa by the U.S. Embassy is not ready to travel to the United States during this COVID-19 pandemic, will he risk losing his immigrant visa by revocation?
No. Valid immigrant visas issued before the proclamation and that were not used for travel will not be revoked under this Proclamation. This was confirmed by the Department of States.
7. An adjustment of status applicant left the United States for a temporary visit abroad, will this adjustment applicant be able to return with his advance parole document ?
Yes. An advance parole is considered as a travel document not covered by the Proclamation, hence this individual may travel back to the U.S. using his advance parole document.
8. A lawful permanent resident plans to file a visa petition for his minor children, will he be permitted to file a visa petition with the USCIS?
Yes, lawful permanent residents may still file for visa petitions on behalf of their minor children. What the Proclamation prohibits is the issuance of visas for these individuals. The proclamation exempts only minor children and spouses of U.S. citizens.
9. A visa petition was approved for a parent of a U.S. citizen. The parent was already interviewed before the Proclamation effectivity date of April 23, 2020 but no visa has been issued yet. Can this parent follow up on the issuance of his visa and travel to the United States?
No. Clearly under the Proclamation, parents of U.S. citizens who have not been issued visas or are not in possession of visas and may not be allowed to immigrate for 60 days from April 23, 2020. They are covered by the Proclamation and are not exempt from the ban.
10. Following up on question number 9, what if the parent of a U.S. citizen has a valid tourist visa, can he travel on a tourist visa?
While tourist visas are not covered by the Proclamation, an immigrant visa applicant especially one who was already interviewed by the consular officer may risk being denied entry to the U.S. not based on the Proclamation but as an intending immigrant.