Jun 22, 2020

Update: President Trump Issues New Proclamation Prohibiting Travel to the U.S. by Certain Nonimmigrants as a Result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Seyfarth Synopsis: President Trump issued a new order restricting travel to the United States by certain nonimmigrants, including those in H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 status.

On Monday, June 22, 2020, President Trump issued another proclamation to suspend entry to the U.S. by all foreign nationals (with limited exceptions) who hold H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 status, including any dependent family members. This provision takes effect on 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on June 24, 2020. The proclamation also extends a previous order that banned certain immigrant visas (i.e., green cards) from being issued by the U.S. Department of State. Both provisions will last until at least December 31, 2020.

Importantly, the proclamation provides several exceptions to allow entry for H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 holders (including their dependent family members): individuals who hold a valid visa stamp in their passport but are outside of the U.S. on the effective date of the proclamation; and individuals who possess an official travel document other than a visa (e.g., a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

The proclamation also provides exceptions to the following individuals: any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.; spouses or children of a U.S. citizen; a foreign national that will provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain; and a foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees. Factors that will be considered to be in the national interest include individuals who: are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.

Finally, the proclamation instructs the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to promulgate regulations or take other actions to ensure that foreign nationals holding H-1B status as well as those seeking permanent residence in the employment-based second or third preference categories do not “disadvantage United States workers.”

Seyfarth Shaw will issue subsequent alerts as the situation continues to develop. Should you have any questions, please alert your Seyfarth Shaw contact.