On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation suspending issuance of immigrant visas for at least 60 days beginning April 24, 2020. Immigrant visas are issued to noncitizens who intend to live permanently in the United States and can be obtained either through certain family members or employment.
On June 22, 2020, President Trump extended the suspension of immigrant visas until at least December 31, 2020. This suspension only applies to those outside the United States and without a valid immigrant visa or travel document as of April 24, 2020. This suspension does not apply to the following:
- Lawful permanent residents (“green card” holders);
- Physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals, medical researchers combatting COVID-19, or those performing work essential to combating or alleviating the effects of COVID-19, along with spouses and children (under the age of 21);
- EB-5 immigrant investors;
- Spouses and children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens;
- Those who further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouse and children (under the age of 21);
- Special Immigrant Visas (Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and Iraqis and Afghanis who worked on behalf of the U.S. government), along with their spouse and children (under the age of 21); and
- Those whose entry would be in the national interest.
This suspension does apply to:
- Parents of U.S. citizens;
- Adult children (over the age of 21) of U.S. citizens;
- Siblings of U.S. citizens;
- Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (with the limited exception of those children who would “age out” – or turn 21 – while this suspension is in effect);
- Diversity visas; and
- All employment-based immigrant visa categories. Regarding children of permanent residents, a limited exception has been ordered for children who would “age-out” (turn 21) while this suspension is in effect.
On June 22, 2020, President Trump also suspended the issuance of a few employment-based nonimmigrant visas, specifically:
- H-1B (temporary workers in specialty occupations);
- H-2B visas (seasonal nonagricultural workers);
- J visas (work and study-based exchange visitors) if participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program;
- L visas (executive or manager intracompany transferees).
The suspensions apply to noncitizens currently outside the U.S. and without a valid nonimmigrant visa (in one of the above classifications) or a travel document.
However, the suspensions do not apply to other nonimmigrant visa categories. This includes F-1 visas (students), H-2A visas (seasonal agricultural workers), J visas for physicians, professors, students, government scholars, among others. The suspensions also do not apply to those seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain. Or those whose entry would be in the national interest of the U.S.; including those involved in combating COVID-19 and those necessary to facilitate the U.S.’s economic recovery.
Neither of these suspensions apply to anyone currently in the United States. This includes those seeking permanent residence in the U.S., whether through family or employment, or those seeking nonimmigrant status in the U.S. through an employer.