On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a 60-day suspension of certain foreign nationals applying to enter the U.S. on immigrant visas as permanent residents. The stated purpose of the proclamation is to protect U.S. workers from the threat of competition for scarce jobs and conserve resources for U.S. consular offices to provide services to U.S. citizens abroad.
Effective April 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT), the proclamation suspends the entry of any foreign national seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:
- Have applied or plan to apply for an immigration visa;
- Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the proclamation’s effective date; and
- Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date after the effective date, that permits travel to the U.S. to seek entry or admission.
The proclamation does not affect the following individuals:
- Individuals who are in the U.S. and have, or plan to, apply for adjustment of status in the U.S.;
- Individuals who already have approved immigrant visas on the proclamation’s effective date;
- Individuals who have official travel documents that are valid on the proclamation’s effective date or issued after the effective date;
- Lawful permanent residents (LPR);
- Healthcare professionals, medical researchers and other individuals seeking to enter the U.S. to perform work essential to alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and their spouses or children;
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
- Spouses, children under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees of U.S. citizens;
- Individuals who would help important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- Members of the U.S. armed forces, and their spouses or children;
- Special immigrants, and their spouses or children;
- Individuals seeking asylum, refugee status, withholding or removal or other protections under the Convention against Torture.
The immediate impact of this proclamation should be minimal as U.S. consular posts are not currently providing routine visa processing services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, if consular posts reopen in the coming weeks, individuals subject to the Proclamation could face additional delays in entering the U.S.
Additionally, the proclamation could impact the future entry of foreign nationals into the U.S. on nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, as it instructs the secretary of labor, the secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend other appropriate measures to stimulate the economy and protect U.S. workers. If such programs are found to negatively impact the economy and U.S. workers, a suspension of certain nonimmigrants from entering the U.S. will likely be forthcoming.
Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.