President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Wednesday, the proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. The order will suspend the issuance of new immigrant visas for individuals who are outside the U.S. for 60-days. The order does not impact temporary non-immigrant workers. Instead, the order will apply to individuals who are outside of the U.S. who do not have an immigrant visa on the effective date of the proclamation, April 23, 2020, and who do not have an official travel document other than a visa that permits him or her to travel to the U.S. and seek entry.
The order exempts nine categories of individuals:
- Existing Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)
- Physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals, and their accompanying spouse and unmarried children under 21, who are seeking to perform medical or other research to combat COVID-19 or to perform essential work relating to the COVID-19 outbreak
- EB-5 immigrant investors
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Children under 21 or prospective adoptees of U.S. citizens
- Individuals whose entry would further U.S. law enforcement objectives
- U.S. military personnel and their spouse and children
- Special Immigrants and their spouse and children
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest
The order may be extended beyond 60 days, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of the proclamation. The order comes at a time when routine visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates are already suspended and USCIS field offices remain closed and in-person services are also suspended.
USCIS Offices Preparing to Reopen on June 4
On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS is readying offices to reopen on or after June 4. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public while the offices are closed.