Last Monday, June 22nd, President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting several employment-based visas until at least the end of the year. Citing those that “present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak,” this order applies to would-be H-1B, H-2B, L-1, certain J-1 categories visa holders, and their dependents.
Per the text of the executive order, it unequivocally applies only to those outside the U.S. on the effective date (June 24th) AND those without a valid visa stamp or travel document on that date. Given the crystal clear language in the order, our previous posts and videos have advised that unless you met those conditions the ban should not apply to you.
Department of State’s Attempt to Expand the Ban
However, on Thursday, June 25th, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) hosted a Q & A on Twitter. There, the DOS indicated that it would be expanding the order to some who depart the U.S. after June 24th without a valid visa stamp. We firmly believe that this constitutes an unlawful expansion of the executive order and we also believe that this will likely be challenged in court. If you’re in the U.S. and think this unlawful expansion may be impacting, you may wish to consider pursuing legal action. If so, please contact us for some additional information.
The White House’s Amendment to, and Expansion of, the Ban
On Monday, June 29th, the White House issued an amendment to the executive order. The amendment expanded the ban to some people who were not subject to the original order.
The new ban will only apply to an individual seeking entry as H-1B, H-2B, L-1, certain J-1 categories, and all of their dependents if, as of the effective date they:
Are outside the United States
Do not have a valid visa in one of the categories that is now suspended on which they are seeking entry AND
Do not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document)
This amendment essentially expands the scope of the ban. For example, under the previous order, if you were outside the U.S. with a valid B-1 visa but were ultimately trying to enter on an H-1B later this year, you would not have been subject to this. Now, however, you would be as the valid visa stamp in your passport, as of June 24th, was not in the H-1B category.
Exceptions & Other Travel Bans
As before, there are some exceptions to this ban and you can read them here.
In addition to the non-immigrant visa restrictions mentioned above, the business visa ban also extended the April order banning the admission of new/would-be legal permanent residents. Further information on that order is available here on our blog.
Additionally, we would like to stress that this order does NOT apply to other visa categories not specifically mentioned including the O-1 visa, E-2 visa, E-1 visa, H-3 visa, and other types of J-1s not listed.
Finally, the previous COVID-related travel bans from various countries (China, Ireland, UK, Schengen Area etc.) may still apply to you, so please consult with an immigration attorney prior to any international travel.
The business visa ban is just a week old, the amendment only a few days. The information herein is the most accurate information we have available at this time. We will continue to update our website and social media accounts as more information becomes available. For assistance with any of the above, or for specific legal advice, you can contact us here at McEntee Law Group by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling at +1-773-828-9544.
Disclaimer: NOT Legal Advice
While this blog may contain information about legal issues, this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should always consult directly with an immigration attorney for advice regarding your individual case and situation. No-one should act or rely on any information posted here without seeking the advice of an attorney.