In recent months President Trump issued two executive orders (Presidential Proclamations) which affect an immigrant’s ability to enter or remain in the U.S. legally with a visa.  The following is a summary of the two orders.

On April 23, 2020, and for a period of 60 days, immigrants will not be allowed to enter the U.S. with a temporary visa if the immigrant’s presence in the U.S. will affect the U.S. job market during the economic recovery after COVID-19 (this order has since been extended beyond the 60 day period which means that it is still in effect).

The order applies to the following immigrants who:

  • were outside the U.S. on April 23rd;
  • did not have a current immigrant visa on April 23rd; and
  • did not have a travel document, besides the visa, on April 23rd.

However, permanent residents (“green cards”), doctors/nurses/other health care professionals, EB-5 immigrant investor, spouse of a U.S. citizen, certain children under the age of 21 who have a U.S. citizen parent, an immigrant whose entry would help law enforcement goals, members of the U.S. military – including their spouse and children, an immigrant entering the U.S. with a SI or SQ special immigrant visa, and an immigrant whose entry into the U.S. would be in the national interest, are not subject to this bar.

On June 24, 2020, new temporary workers who have been requested by U.S. businesses to come to the U.S. to work legally, including the worker’s spouse and children, will not be allowed to enter the U.S. until after December 31, 2020. However, foreign workers who were already issued a work visa on or before June 24, 2020, will not be affected by this order.

The following types of visas are affected by this order:

  • H-1B visa (professional visa for immigrants with a college degree)
  • H-2B visa (seasonal visa – for example a foreign worker who is hired by a U.S. business to come to the U.S.)
  • J-1 visa (foreigners coming to the U.S. to the U.S for an internship, training program, or to work as a camp counselor or au pair.
  • L-1A visa (executive or manager visa for a foreign worker who is transferring from a foreign company that is owned or affiliated to a U.S. company)
  • L-1B specialized knowledge workers (a foreign worker who has specialized knowledge and is transferring from a foreign company that is owned or affiliated to a U.S. company).

However, the order does not apply to the following immigrants:

  • Lawful permanent residents (“green card” holder)
  • The spouse or children of a U.S. citizen
  • An immigrant who is coming to the U.S. for the purpose of working as a temporary laborer in an area which is essential (critical) for the U.S. food supply chain (for example, an immigrant worker who is coming to the U.S. to help pick vegetables or fruit for a farm), or
  • An immigrant whose entry would be in the national interest of the United States (which is determined by the Department of State or Department of Homeland Security).

The following immigrants are covered by the national interest provision if the immigrant:

  • is critical to U.S. defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security
  • is involved in the medical care of patients who are presently hospitalized and have been infected with COVID-19
  • is coming to the U.S. to work in a medical facility involved in researching the COVID-19 virus
  • is necessary to help with the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S., or
  • is a child under the age of 21 who may lose their visa if denied entry into the U.S. because of the order.

In addition, President Trump clarified that even if an immigrant was legally in the U.S. on June 24, 2020 with a visa, the immigrant would not be able to change their status to an H, L or J visa unless they were already in that visa status on June 24th.

In summary, the two presidential orders will make it very difficult for an immigrant to either enter the U.S., or remain in temporary legal status in the U.S. unless the immigrant falls under one of the exceptions.  We will also have to wait and see which immigrants will be considered to fall under the “national interest” exception.



The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only, as well as to give the reader general information and a general understanding of immigration law. It is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.  The reader should not act upon this information without first seeking professional legal advice.







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