Trump Extends Restrictions on Issuance of Certain Immigrant and Temporary Work Visas Through March 3

On December 31, 2020, the Trump Administration issued a three-month extension of Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which temporarily suspend the issuance of certain family-based and employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, including H-1B (H-4), H-2B, L-1 (L-2), and J-1 visas, due to the U.S. economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The visa restrictions under Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which have been in place since April and June 2020, respectively, and were set to expire on December 31, 2020, will now remain in effect through March 31, 2021. Although there is no official word yet from President-elect Biden on whether the visa restrictions will be lifted after taking office on January 20th, we believe that the suspension proclamations will likely be cancelled within the early days of the new administration.

What This Means for Our Clients and Their Foreign National Employees

We strongly recommend employees who are in the United States and hold H-1B, L-1, or J-1 status to contact our office before making international travel plans. Persons in one of these statuses who do not have a valid visa will not be allowed to reenter the country if they leave, unless they qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamations, or a national interest exemption for H, L, and certain J-1 visas. The suspension will not impact H-1B change of employer or extension petitions for persons in the United States who are in valid status.

Please note that the COVID-19 travel bans for China, Iran, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and European countries in the Schengen Area continue to remain in effect. In addition, routine visa services continue to be suspended at most consular posts worldwide. We will reach out to employees who are currently outside the United States and are affected by the Presidential Proclamations and COVID-19 travel bans to discuss appropriate contingency planning.

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