The President has issued another Executive Order concerning immigration due to the “economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.”  The order limits the issuance of new visas in the non-immigrant categories H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 through December 31, 2020.  It also extends the previous Executive Order barring the entry of certain immigrant visa holders through the end of 2020.  The new order will go into effect at 12:01 AM on June 24, 2020 and also specifies that it may be extended past December 31, 2020.  However, it appears at this time that the order will have little immediate effect on foreign nationals currently in the U.S. The order does not prohibit the presence of individuals already inside the U.S. in H-1B, H-2B, L-1, or J-1 status, nor does it bar requests for changes of status into these categories where permissible.  Further, individuals already in possession of a valid visa may enter the U.S. in these categories.

Issuance of visas in the following nonimmigrant visa categories will be suspended until December 31, 2020, with certain exceptions noted below:

  • H-1B and H-2B visas, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien (such as H-4);
  • J-1 visas, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien (such as J-2); and
  • L visas, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien (such as L-2).

The order will not apply to the following individuals seeking entry:

  • any foreign national who is the spouse or child of a United States citizen;
  • any foreign national seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
  • any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

We anticipate that some clients will need to adjust their international travel plans, and realize these erratic shifts in policy are frustrating.  Please know that we are here to assist you with long term planning and visa strategy in these difficult times.  If you  currently hold H-1B, H-2B, L-1, or J-1 status, please be sure to check the I-94 expiry date (available here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search). In the event your I-94 expires before December 31, 2020, please contact us so we may advise you on best options.