Exceptions to The H1-B Entry Ban Announced – Here’s What You Need To Return To The US On An H1-B Visa

Posted on August 14, 2020
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After tech giants Facebook and Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the H1-B entry ban signed on June 22, 2020 the Department of State has announced certain exceptions that will relax some of the norms of the Proclamation.

Read: Details Of The Lawsuit Against H1-B Entry Ban

The Proclamation of June 22 suspended the entry of certain non-immigrant visa categories like the H1B and L1 visas till December 31, 2020 to protect the US labor market during the Coronavirus pandemic. Citing reasons that replacing certain critical employees will cause financial hardships for the organizations, the US Department of State has made these exceptions.

You Don’t Qualify To Reenter USA On An H1-B Visa?

Here are some alternate visa options

Alternatives to H1-B Visa Ban

Exceptions To The H1-B, L1 Entry-Ban

Certain non-immigrant visa categories like H1-B and L1 visa holders as well as their dependents will now be able to contact their local US Consulate to request an emergency appointment if they qualify under the following exemptions.

  • All those whose Labor Conditions Applications (LCA) was approved after July 1, 2020 will be allowed to reenter the US. For those whose LCA was approved before July 2020, will have to convince the consular officer that he is a critical member of his employer’s team and needs to be physically present in the US to perform his duties.
  • Also Know: Why Are LCAs Under Scrutiny
  • If the beneficiary is returning to his original job at the same position and with the same employer.
  • The H1-B or L1 visa holders provides significant and unique contributions vital to the business through his specialized qualifications that is a critical infrastructural requirement. This will have to be presented with documentary evidence to convince the consular officer.
  • The wage of the H1-B and L1 beneficiary should be 15% over the prevailing wage rate.
  • The visa holder should have a unique and advanced qualification and be in a specialty occupation 
  • Denial of the visa will cause financial hardship for the employer or negatively impact a contractual obligation.
  • L1 visa holders should be senior-level executive or manager
  • Has spent a substantial amount of time knowing and understanding the business.
  • Any non-immigrant visa holder in the medical profession who can contribute to the alleviation of the Covid pandemic
  • Anyone traveling to the US to meet critical US foreign policy objectives or support economic recovery of the US
  • Lastly, applicants who are aging out of their current immigrant visa classification before the end of the immigrant visa ban or two weeks after

Related Article: A Major Win For H1-B Applicants in the US District Courts

What Should You Do If You Qualify For The Above Exemptions To The H1-B Entry Ban

  • Contact your local US consulate for an emergency appointment.
  • While in-person operations have resumed in many US consulates worldwide, there will be exceptions based on local shelter-in-place conditions.
  • Certain locations have resumed Drop-box facilities. If you qualify, you can simply drop your petition in any of these locations and await a response. Most consulates are responding in two weeks.
  • Have your immigration lawyer create your application for appeal to enter the US based on the above exceptions. You should be able to provide evidentiary documentations to prove the exceptions applicable to you.
  • If you have dependents with you, ensure all travel documents for them are in order including a valid passport and relevant visas.

If you qualify for at least 2 of the above exceptions, and are able to convince the consular officer based on your application and supporting documents, you have a chance to enter the US.

If need be, contact an immigration lawyer to assist you with the process to ensure success.

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