|On April 22, President Trump signed a Proclamation that took effect on April 23, 2020. The mandates contained in the Proclamation will be in effect for an initial period of 60 days and will be extended “as necessary.” The good news is that the Proclamation impacts only a narrow group of intending immigrants: those currently outside the U.S. seeking to enter the U.S. for the first time as permanent residents with a new immigrant visa. However, the Proclamation states that the administration will continue to review immigration policies for the next 30 days and may impose additional limits on the admission of people with nonimmigrant (temporary) visas. We will continue to monitor this situation.
The Proclamation does not apply to:
· Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who already have their U.S. Permanent Resident Card (“green cards”);
· Foreign nationals applying for permanent residence through adjustment of status within the U.S.;
· Nonimmigrant visa holders (e.g. those already holding B, E, H, J, K, L, O, P, etc. visas that have already been issued by a U.S. consulate or embassy);
· Foreign nationals submitting petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S.;
· Any foreign national who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen;
· Qualifying children of a U.S. citizen under age 21 or qualifying prospective adoptees;
· Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children;
· Essential workers and qualifying immediate family members who are deemed to be essential to the U.S. COVID-19 response including physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals, researchers and others who perform essential work necessary to combatting and alleviating the effects of the virus;
· Special Immigrant Visa holders in the SI or SQ classification, and their spouses and children;
· A foreign national applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
· Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and
· Immigrants seeking asylum or entry on certain humanitarian grounds.
The Proclamation only applies to intending immigrants who:
· Are outside the U.S. on the effective date (April 23, 2020);
· Do not have an immigrant visa already issued as of the effective date; and
· Do not have another valid official travel document (such as advance parole, transportation letter or other appropriate boarding foil)
What is the impact?
Since the U.S. consulates and embassies are already closed for regular processing (including immigrant visa processing), this Proclamation has little direct impact on most foreign nationals. The most immediate impact is to those foreign nationals who have been scheduled to attend immigrant visa interviews abroad (through a process known as “consular processing”) and who are awaiting rescheduling of those interviews upon the re-opening of consulates/embassies. Final processing of their immigrant visas will now take several months longer than initially predicted. Additionally, if the Proclamation is extended, or expanded to include other categories, there could be even longer delays in achieving U.S. permanent residence through immigrant processing abroad and wider effects across all U.S. immigration classifications.
We are continuing to monitor developments and will provide updates as they become available.