Trump expands entry bar to H-1Bs, H-2Bs, Ls and Js

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a new proclamation – expanding his earlier April 22 proclamation – to bar several classes of nonimmigrants from entering the United States. Both the immigrant and nonimmigrant bars now extend to December 31, 2020.

The new proclamation prohibits persons from entering the United States on certain nonimmigrant visas. These include all H-1B, H-2B, and L visas. The proclamation also includes J-1s in the following categories: intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, and summer work travel program. The proclamation extends to dependents of these persons entering as H-4s, L-2s, or J-2s.

The proclamation does not apply to persons already in the U.S. It does not apply to persons changing status in the U.S., such as from F-1 to H-1B. It does not apply to persons outside the U.S. who already hold visas in these categories. In essence, the proclamation is a bar on the issuance of new visas.

In our view, the proclamation should not prevent the entry of Canadians as H-1Bs, H-2Bs, Ls or Js, as well as the approval of new L petitions at the port of entry, since Canadians do not require visas to enter in these categories. A “visa” is a counterfoil placed in a passport by a U.S. consulate or embassy. Canadians require an approved H petition, L petition, DS-2019, or other document needed to qualify in the categories affected by the proclamation, but do not require a visa stamp.

Persons in the U.S. from countries other than Canada who do not have unexpired visas in their passports should not leave the U.S. at this time, as they will likely not be able to return. Canadians should exercise caution in leaving the U.S. until the application of the proclamation to Canadians has been clarified.

The April 22 proclamation, which has now been extended to December 31, prohibits the issuance of all new immigrant visas, with the exception of spouses and minor unmarried children of U.S. citizens, and EB-5 investors.

Along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), we strongly oppose this new proclamation. We anticipate litigation to challenge the legality of barring entire classes of nonimmgrants authorized by Congress to enter the United States. Far from taking jobs from Americans, the entry of new immigrants and nonimmigrants helps us rebuild and expand our economy in these difficult times.

To read the presidential proclamation click here.