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Update to: President Trump Expected to Temporarily Bar Immigration to the United States for Certain Persons

As an update to our blog on April 22, 2020, President Trump has now officially released the first of two anticipated presidential proclamations related to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this first proclamation will have a negative impact on a small group of intending immigrants, the proclamation itself is far less restrictive than expected.

To reiterate, prior to this most recent proclamation, the following individuals were able to enter the US within the discretion of US Customs and Border Protection:

  • US Citizens;
  • US Lawful Permanent Residents (also known as “green card holders”);
  • Individuals holding valid US visas (other than B-1/B-2 visitor visas); and
  • Canadians holding valid US visas or nonimmigrant status documents.

While for the most part, this remains true, President’s Trump’s proclamation has narrowed entry to the US for certain immigrants for the next sixty (60) days.

The proclamation speaks specifically to immigrant visas (as opposed to non-immigrant visas such as H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, and E-2) and applies to foreign nationals (Non-US Citizen or Green Card holder) who:

  • Are outside the United States as of April 24, 2020;
  • Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid as of April 24, 2020; and
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

It is important to note that the proclamation expressly excludes US Lawful Permanent Residents, spouses or minor children of US citizens, or aliens applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. It also will not impact the acceptance of immigrant petitions or adjustment of status applications by US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Please keep in mind that this is the first of two anticipated immigration-related Presidential proclamations. Stay tuned for further updates!