DOS Provides Additional Guidance on Presidential Proclamation Suspending H-1, L-1, and J-1 Visa Issuance
July 27, 2020
The Department of State (DOS) has recently provided additional guidance on its interpretation of Presidential Proclamation 10052. As previously reported, this Proclamation suspended visa issuance of new H-1, L-1 and certain J-1s through the end of the year. This new guidance is summarized below:
Through a DOS Twitter account, the Department recently announced that persons who were physically present in the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation, June 24th, would not be subject to the visa suspension if they later depart the country and apply for a new visa in H, L or J status. Guidance on the website of many U.S. consular posts have also been updated to reflect this interpretation.
The DOS appears to have created a blanket “national interest” exemption to both the temporary and permanent visa suspension for spouses and children who are “following to join” a principal applicant already in the United States. This would presumably apply to spouses and children who are outside of the United States, do not already have a dependent H, L or J visa, and are seeking to apply for a new visa to join the principal who is already in the United States in H-1, L-1 or J-1 status.
While these announcements from the Department of State appear favorable, we continue to advise persons who are present in the United States in H-1, L-1 or J-1 status, including family members in dependent status, to avoid departing the United States at the present time. In case of unavoidable international travel, we recommend contacting our office before finalizing travel plans. We note that most U.S. embassies and consulates are still closed for routine visa processing for H-1, L-1 and J-1 classifications. We will not know for certain how the U.S. consulates or embassies abroad will actually apply the restrictions of the Proclamation in practice, until these services are resumed. The Trump administration may also impose new restrictions in the future, which would prevent foreign nationals who leave the country from reentering.
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