JANUARY 2021 UPDATE: The provisions of this order were extended through March 31, 2021. The post below has been updated to reflect this.
JUNE 22 UPDATE: On June 22, 2020 the provisions of this order were extended through December 31, 2020. Additional provisions impacting H, L, and J nonimmigrant visas were also added.
On April 22, 2020, President Trump announced his “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” After days of intense speculation, the scope of the final order is limited to “immigrant visas.” Nonimmigrant visas like H1Bs, Ls, TNs, Os, and Es are not impacted at all.
An “immigrant visa” is a specific term that refers to the type of visa you receive when your green card petition is approved while you are outside of the US, and you need to travel to the US to activate your lawful permanent resident status.
Basically, if you are 1) outside of the US as of 11:59 pm ET on April 23, 2020, and 2) do not already have an immigrant visa in your passport that is valid as of April 23, 2020, you will not be able to obtain your visa or travel to the US to become a lawful permanent resident through March 31, 2021.*
Some applicants may qualify for a National Interest Exception waiver, allowing them to receive a visa despite this ban.
*Certain healthcare workers, children or spouses of US citizens, EB5 investors, and a few other groups are exempted from this ban.