The President’s proclamation signed last week caused considerable concern for us all. In fact, the current order has done little to change the immediate immigration status quo. Below are several key points regarding the language of the order:
- Individuals outside the U.S. awaiting the issuance of immigrant visas are subject to a 60-day hold.
- The proclamation provides exceptions to its restrictions for certain categories of immigrants, including: certain healthcare professionals, aliens seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an EB-5 investor visa, and spouses and children of U.S. citizens (not parents).
- The Diversity Visa Lottery has been placed on hold.
- U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those holding valid immigrant visas on the effective date of the Proclamation, are not subject to the proclamation.
- The Proclamation is not retroactive, and no valid visas will be revoked under the proclamation.
- Individuals filing cases inside the U.S. should not be affected by the language of the current order.
As most U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not conducting visa interviews presently, the order will have little effect on the current situation. However, the President also stated that this order will be reviewed prior to expiry, and could be extended or expanded, potentially to include non-immigrant visas. While we do not know at this time when additional orders may be forthcoming, we advise all of our clients to plan strategically. We also recommend that current foreign national employees in the U.S. avoid international travel, when possible, and file extensions well in advance of their expiration dates, especially given the USCIS suspension of premium (expedited) processing. Employees currently outside the U.S. should secure the first available visa interview once U.S. embassies and consulates resume normal operations during the coming weeks or months.