President Donald Trump suspended the issuance of some immigrant visas for 60 days beginning April 24, 2020. The White House has posted the text of the immigration suspension: Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Many immigrants are not suspended or may request an exemption.
What does the immigration suspension mean?
The U.S. government will stop granting some immigrant visas for 60 days. This applies to:
- People who were outside of the USA on April 23, 2020, and
- Did not already have a valid immigrant visa on April 23, 2020, and
- Did not already have a valid official travel document on April 23, 2020, or issued after that date.
Official travel documents include an advance parole document, transportation letter, or appropriate boarding foil.
People who are already in the United States as of April 23, 2020, are exempt.
Which immigrants are suspended?
U.S. consulates and embassies will suspend approval of the following visas:
- Family-based immigration visas for parents and siblings of U.S. citizens
- Immigrant visas for the spouses and children of green card holders
- Most EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 employment-based visas
- Most EB-4 immigrant visas
- Diversity lottery visas
To reduce U.S. unemployment increased by COVID-19 and focus consular resources on citizens abroad.
Who is exempt from the immigration suspension?
- Green card holders.
- Spouses and children of U.S. citizens.
- EB-5 Investors.
- Immigrant healthcare professionals, researchers and essential workers fighting the pandemic, their spouses and children.
- U.S. military members, their spouses and children.
- Special Immigrants in SQ or SI classification, their spouses and children.
- People helping law enforcement or otherwise in the national interest.
The suspension still allows requests for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture.
- The immigration suspension does not affect temporary visa holders and derivatives. This includes visitors on B1/B2 status. The same is true for E1, E2, H-1B, L-1, and other non-immigrant visas.
- The citizenship process is still available for green card holders or children born abroad who inherited U.S. citizenship.
- The suspension will not stop people already in the United States from receiving green cards.
How can I apply for an exemption?
Applicants for immigrant visas and green cards must inform the consular officer and show evidence they qualify for an exemption.
How long will the immigration suspension last?
60 days, beginning April 24 to June 22, 2020. By June 13, 2020, the Secretary of State will recommend whether to continue the suspension beyond June 22.
What is the impact of this suspension?
The U.S. State Department suspended normal visa services worldwide on March 20, 2020 due to COVID-19. However, consulates are still processing emergency visas and H-2 work visas.
USCIS suspended visa interviews and in-person services due to COVID-19 on March 18, 2020. The suspension will last until “at least May 3.” As of April 23, 2020, USCIS is still processing petitions. Check the State Department and USCIS websites for current status.
People can still apply for green cards, immigrant visas, and temporary visas. Expect delays in consular processing.
Contact an immigration lawyer for advice on how this affects you and whether you qualify for an exemption.
Attorney Joseph Alain Moro helps people worldwide obtain immigrant visas and green cards.
For more information, contact Moro Legal, LLC and schedule an attorney consultation.
Phone: +1 (303) 586-1955. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.