With a painful transition of power underway, the attack on immigrants marches on until the last moments of the Trump administration. On December 31, 2020, the Trump administration issued a presidential proclamation extending the ban of entry for certain nonimmigrant and immigrant visas as outlined in its April 22, 2020, and June 22, 2020, proclamations. The ban includes certain applications for H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas for persons who were not present in the United States as of the effective date of the proclamation, as well as all applications for immigrant visa holders. The bans were set to expire on December 31, 2020, but have now been extended to March 31, 2021.
This means that all those individuals who had petitions approved for these visas while being outside the U.S. are still not eligible to get their visas, further hindering U.S. employers who need those specialized workers in the U.S.
What does this mean for now? It’s a continued waiting game that coincides with the policies allowing some, but not all, current visa holders to enter the U.S. directly.
Luckily, there is a potential solution on the horizon that will make it so this new March 31, 2021 date no longer applies: A new executive action signed into effect by President Biden, which could occur as soon as January 20th.
If you have an interview for one of these visa type schedule, think about postponing it until there is more clarity and the U.S. embassies and consulates are allowed to issue these visas again. If you are a U.S. employer thinking about submitting an L-1 visa application on behalf a foreign national, consider pushing back the start date on the employment sponsorship to not lose time on the visa when it is actually approved, as the end date stipulated on the application is binding, and will not be extended by the consular officer, thus losing valuable time on the back end.
Each case is unique and each strategy should be modified based on the specific circumstances of a case, so it is recommended that you speak with a qualified immigration attorney when making your immigration strategy.