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Frequently asked questions about Proclamation no. 10,014, which suspends the issuance of non-immigrant work visas

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Drummond Advisors professionals gathered the most frequently asked questions related to Executive Order no. 10,014, from April 22, 2020, extended on June 22, 2020 to December 31, 2020, which suspends the issuance of non-immigrant work visas in categories H-1B, H-2B, L and J and limits the entry to the United States.

1. Which visas are affected with the Presidential Proclamation of June 22, 2020?

The Presidential Proclamation announced on June 22, 2020 extends the Proclamation n. 10,014 for certain immigrant visas, including certain H-1B, H-2B, L and J visa applications.

2. I have an approved petition (H-1B, H-2B, J or L) and I am awaiting my interview. What does this mean for me?

The suspension of entry applies to “any foreigner who does not hold a valid non-immigrant visa on the effective date of this proclamation”.

3. Can employers continue to file H-1B and L-1 petitions with the USCIS, seeking to change or extend visa status?

Yes. The processing of petitions for merit assessment by the USCIS is happening normally.

4. To what extent will the proclamation affect the processing of green cards?

The proclamation affects consular processing of green cards for beneficiaries outside the US in cases being processed by the National Visa Center (NVC), that is, consular interviews for the immigrant visa stamp will be suspended until December 31, 2020. It is worth mentioning that there are exceptions to this rule, and the following individuals are not affected by this measure:

  • Applicants for the EB-5 visa;
  • Individuals who are in the US National Interest (such as applicants for EB-2 NIW);
  • Individuals and their spouses and children under the age of 21 who wish to enter the US on an immigrant visa as a doctor, nurse or other health professional to do essential work to combat, recover or alleviate the effects of COVID-19 (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of National Security [link] or their respective designees);
  • Spouses of an American citizen; and
  • Other exceptions in the regulation that are subject to the discretion of the officers.

5. Is it possible to apply for a visa stamp within the United States?

No. Consular services are performed at American embassies or consulates abroad.

6. How will dependents of people with L-1, H1-B and J-1 visas be affected? Can they enter the US as visitors using a B-2 visa stamp or visa waiver (ESTA)?

People who were outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020 (Wednesday) applying specifically for the following visas:

  • H-1B and its dependents;
  • H-2B and its dependents;
  • J-1 and its dependents;
  • L-1A and L-1B and dependents.

If dependents have a valid non-immigrant visa issued before June 24, 2020 or an ESTA (except travel restrictions to countries affected by COVID-19), they can use that visa as long as their travel intent corresponds to the type of visa used.

7. Does the decree also affect students who currently hold an F-1 visa and are working in accordance with Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

OPT students who are already on American soil will not be affected by this decree.

8. Can H-1B and L-1 workers who already have a valid visa stamp in their passport continue to travel internationally?

Foreign workers who are outside the US but have valid visas in the categories mentioned previously can enter the US using the current visa issued on June 24 as an entry document.

9. What else can we expect from this proclamation regarding immigration policies?

This decree is intended to protect and create jobs for Americans at a time of economic crisis and high unemployment, so a more detailed level of process review with the USCIS and the Labor Department is expected.

10. What to do if my L, H or J visa expires while I am in the USA?

The visa is a necessary document for admission or entry to the USA. Thus, if the beneficiary of the L, H or J is on American soil with his valid I-94 (status), they can remain in the country for that period.

11. Which J visas are subject to the Proclamation?

The Proclamation applies to J visa holders “participating in an internship program, trainee, teacher, field counselor, au pair or summer work travel program and any foreigner accompanying or following to join that foreigner.”

12. I am a physician. Am I exempt?

Physicians applying for J visas are not subject to proclamation. Physicians looking to enter the US on an H-1B or L visa to provide medical assistance or are involved in research related to COVID-19 may be considered an exception.

We reiterate that this content is for information purposes only. Consult your immigration attorney before planning your trip.