Temporary Work Visas Exempt from Immigration Ban

April 24, 2020

President Trump’s executive order suspending immigration into the United States for 60 days does not apply to those entering the U.S. on temporary work visas, such as H-1Bs and H-2Bs.

“This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency,” President Trump clarified in a news conference.  “In other words, those receiving green cards—a big factor—it will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis.” 

The suspension applies only to individuals who: 

  • Are outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation (April 23);

  • Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation; and

  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

A number of Green Cards categories are exempted from the EO, including: 

  • Health care workers, 

  • EB-5 foreign investor visas, and

  • Spouses or children under 21 of U.S. citizens. 

Focus on the economy:  “This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” Trump said at a White House briefing.  “It will also preserve our health care resources for American patients.”

More to come:  "Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether I should continue or modify this proclamation," the order reads.

What it means:  The Executive Order is a bid to get more U.S. citizens back to work faster.  However, the State Department has already largely suspended in-person consular interviews for visa applicants, accomplishing much of the same result.  If the EO is expanded, its effects could be felt more keenly.