On April 20, 2020, President Trump announced in a tweet via Twitter that he plans to sign an executive order to suspend legal immigration into the US. Two days later, on April 22, 2020, President Trump signed the executive order which limits legal immigration into the US for certain foreign nationals seeking immigrant visas (i.e. seeking green cards).
The Executive Order applies to foreign nationals who:
1. Are outside the US on April 23, 2020;
2. Do not have an immigrant visa on April 23, 2020; and
3. Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document).
The executive order lists out the following foreign nationals who are EXEMPT from the executive order and who may still enter the US:
1. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
2. Foreign nationals seeking immigrant visas that are in the healthcare industry including physicians and nurses; foreign nationals performing medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak;
3. Foreign nationals obtaining an immigrant visa through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
4. Spouses of US citizens;
5. Children under 21 of US citizens;
6. Foreign nationals whose presence in the US would promote the “national interest” of the US;
7. Foreign nationals whose entry furthers US law enforcement objectives;
8. Foreign nationals obtaining an immigrant visa through as a Special Immigrant; and
9. Asylum seekers.
Furthermore, the executive order WILL NOT AFFECT the following foreign nationals:
1. Foreign nationals obtaining non-immigrant visas from abroad (B, H, L, E, F, J, K, TN, O, P or R visas); and
2. Foreign nationals already in the US applying for extension of status, change of status, or adjustment of status.
The executive order WILL AFFECT the following foreign nationals:
1. Parents of US citizens;
2. Children over 21 of US citizens;
3. Siblings of US citizens;
4. Spouses and children of legal permanent residents; and
5. Other employment based immigrant categories not exempted by the executive order (EB1, EB2, EB3).
The order goes into effect on April 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm for the next 60 days. During this time period, President Trump has directed the Secretaries of the Department of State, Department of Labor and Homeland Security to re-evaluate the US economy and assess whether any nonimmigrant visa programs will need to be modified accordingly. This may mean an extension of the executive order as well a modification of the executive order to include other categories of foreign nationals.
If you have questions relating to your immigration case and how you will be affected by the executive order, we are available to assist you.