Exceptions to the Presidential Proclamation of June 22nd 2020

Published on: Jul 28, 2020, Last Edited: Jul 28, 2020 | Tags: COVID-19, USA Visa Restrictions

As the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the world, President Trump signed proclamations 10014 and 10052 in June this year. These changes to immigration law temporarily suspended the right of entry to the US for both immigrants and non-immigrants. They were implemented because immigrant workers are seen as a risk to the recovery of the US labor market.

The suspension applies specifically to those applying for H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 visas. It also applies to J-1 visa applicants seeking temporary positions such as summer camp counselor or intern. Children and spouses of applicants for L-2, H-4, and J-2 visas are also affected by the suspension.

Who is exempt from the new regulations?

Some people whose travel to and employment in the United States are considered to be in the national interest are exempt from the temporary suspension. Some of the categories of travel excluded from the suspension include:

H1-B visa holders:

  • Healthcare professionals, researchers, or public health officials traveling to help with the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Individuals traveling on the request of a United States government agency, for example, the Department of Defense, to meet treaty obligations or to fulfill foreign policy requirements.

H2-B visa holders:

Those traveling at the request of a United States government agency, for example, to assist with IT infrastructure or the construction of a military base.

J-1 visa holders:

  • Holders of J-1 visas are permitted entry in the following situations:
  • Traveling to care for a minor United States citizen, Legal permanent resident, or a non-immigrant au pair with particular skills in caring for a child with additional needs (sign language, special education, or medical requirements) is deemed to be in the national interest.
  • Traveling to prevent a United States citizen from becoming a charge on public health a ward of the state in a hospital or other publicly funded institution.
  • To care for a child or children whose parents are key workers providing medical care to patients suffering from Coronavirus or who are undertaking medical research at US facilities to assist the country in combatting the disease.
  • Individuals participating in exchange programs deemed to be in the United States national interest provided that the agreement with the relevant foreign country was arranged prior to June 22nd, 2020, the date of the Presidential Proclamation.
  • Trainees and interns on programs sponsored by United States government agencies (program numbers on Form DS-2019 starting with G-3). These exchange visitors are hosted by government agencies to provide immediate and continuing support to the country’s economic recovery.
  • Exchange visitors who are specialized teachers and who have been allocated a Form DS-2019 program number starting with G-5. They must be going to teach mostly in person and full time in a public or private accredited academic institution. Such visitors must demonstrate at least near-native proficiency in a foreign language and be competent to teach their subject to students in this language.
  • Exchange visitors who are participating in programs that fulfill time-sensitive and critical foreign policy aims.

Exceptions for travelers with L-1 visas:

These allow healthcare professionals and medical researchers to enter the United States. They also apply to those traveling to alleviate the secondary impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Exceptions for travelers with H-4, L-2, and J-2 visas:

Similar exemptions apply to individuals accompanying or following principal applicants to whom PP 10052 does not apply. This exemption also applies when the primary applicant has a valid visa or is already in the USA.

National interest exceptions for travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen Area

  • Students traveling with M-1 and F-1 visas from the UK, Ireland, and the Schengen Area are exempt from the temporary suspensions to will not need to seek a national interest exemption to enter the US.
  • Business travelers, academics, investors, and J-1 students who have a visa or ESTA issued before the effective date for PP9993 and 9996 and who believe they are eligible for a national interest exception should contact their nearest US consulate or embassy before they travel. If the national interest exemption is granted, they can either enter the US on an ESTA or a valid visa.
  • National interest exemptions may also be granted to individuals traveling to the United States for humanitarian reasons, assisting with public health issues and national security.

Immigrant visa medical examinations now valid for a further month

The medical checks required for immigrant visas are generally valid for six months. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention extended their validity for a further period of one month for medical exams performed from January 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2020. If you are still unable to travel within the one-month extension period, you will have to reapply for a new valid visa and medical examination.

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