President Trump signed an Executive Order on April 22, 2020 suspending the entry of individuals on an immigrant visa for 60 days. “Immigrant visa” refers to an application for permanent residency (i.e., green card) obtained at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. The Order provides exceptions for certain lawful permanent residents, holders of existing, valid immigrant visas and similar U.S. travel documents, the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, and EB-5 immigrants among others. The order takes effect on April 23, 2020.
The Order does not affect the processing or filing of applications for adjustment of status in the United States. Further, H-1B, L-1 and other nonimmigrant programs are not immediately affected, but the Order directs DHS and DOL to make a study of the impact of temporary foreign workers on U.S. workers. The results of the study could prompt future restrictions on these nonimmigrant programs.
The suspension will initially last for 60 days, but may be continued “as necessary.”
It is important to note that as of March 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced the suspension of all routine visa services at consulates worldwide due to the spread of COVID-19. The practical impact of this order is therefore minimal, as consulates are not currently issuing any immigrant visas.
While it is too early to speculate on what additional measures might be recommended, it is clear that the government is contemplating additional changes to the U.S. immigration system.
We are continuing to monitor this evolving situation and will provide updates as we learn additional information.
The immigration lawyers at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo are accepting new clients and we are available to consult via video chat, including iphone, android and all other video conferencing services. We are also available, by appointment, for office consults. If you have any questions about your ability to file an immigration application currently or how the Executive Order may affect you, please do not hesitate to contact us.