President Donald Trump has signed a presidential proclamation temporarily suspending immigrant visa processing for certain applicants outside of the U.S. This announcement does not apply to nonimmigrant visa categories (e.g., H-1B, TN, L) nor does it apply to any immigrant visa processing for individuals already in the U.S.
The proclamation is effective as of 11:59pm ET on Thursday, April 23, 2020 and the temporary suspension will last for 60 days.
How is this different from the policies already in place with USCIS and the State Department?
This announcement aligns with actions already taken by U.S. consulates and embassies. As we have discussed, the State Department suspended all nonimmigrant and immigrant visa processing on March 20, 2020 in response to COVID-19. As such, we are maintaining the status quo.
Who does this impact?
Per the proclamation, applicants who are outside the U.S. or do not already have a valid immigration visa or official travel document (i.e. a transportation letter, boarding foil or advance parole document) when the proclamation goes into effect will be impacted.
The proclamation excludes the following:
- U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents
- Foreign national physicians, nurses and other healthcare professional, as well as those performing medical research related to COVID-19 or those performing work deemed essential to fighting, curing or recovering from the virus. This also includes accompanying spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old.
- EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program applicants
- Spouses of U.S. citizens Anyone under 21 years of age who is the child of a U.S. citizen
- Anyone who is determined to be of national interest or important to U.S. law enforcement objectives by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security
- Members of the U.S. military and their spouses and children
- Applicants trying to enter the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification
How are Envoy and GIA responding?
Both Envoy and GIA have been following the situation closely and providing updates to clients as more details become available.
What do I need to do next?
GIA advises that you should proceed with “business as usual” operations as this proclamation does not impose any significant further restrictions from the policies already in place at USCIS and the State Department as of March 20, 2020. If you have any questions or feel a case already in progress could be impacted, please reach out via the Communication Center.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Attorney at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.