Effective today, June 24, 2020, President Trump’s H1-B immigration ban will prohibit entry into the United States for certain categories of non-immigrant visa holders. Like the Executive Order he had signed in April suspending admission for green card holders, this proclamation is set until December 31, 2020 and can be reviewed and altered every 60 days.
This Proclamation applies to the following situations for these non-immigrant foreign workers:
- H-1B, H-2B and L1 (A&B) visa holders and their family members who are outside the United States after June 24, 2020;
- H-1B, H-2B and L1 (A&B) visa holders and their family members who do not already have a valid nonimmigrant visa in their passport as of June 24, 2020
- H-1B, H-2B and L1 (A&B) visa holders and their family members who do not already have a valid US travel document like an Advance Parole papers.
While the above are broad categories, we have answered five (5) important questions that are specific to Indian nationals on H1-B, H4 and L1 visas have:
- Question 1
If you are outside the United States as of June 24, 2020 but have a valid H1-B, H4, H4 EAD, L1-A of L1-B visa, can you enter the US?
Several foreign workers are stranded outside the US due to the Coronavirus situation. Border closings and US embassies temporarily shutting down due to social distancing have had several non-immigrant visa workers to remain outside the US.
As long as they have a valid H or L visa, they can still enter the US.
- Question 2
If you have a valid H or L visa and are within the US, can you travel abroad and still be allowed back in during this proclamation period?
As long as your H or L visa is valid for the entire duration of the trip and you were in the US before June 24, 2020 you should be able to travel in and out of the country.
However, given that the Proclamation doesn’t exclusively address this situation, you should consult with an immigration lawyer before making any travel plans.
Lastly, you should talk to your travel agent and airline to ensure they do not impose any restrictions before boarding your international flight.
- Question 3
Are you allowed to renew your H, L or dependent visas at a consular post located outside of the US and re-enter the country?
Again, since the Proclamation doesn’t exclusively address this situation, you should consult with an immigration lawyer about applying for extensions from within the US.
Moreover, it is important to note that US consulates abroad are still closed in many locations and working hours have to be verified before making an appointment.
Lastly, if you have to travel, you should talk to your travel agent and airline to ensure they do not impose any restrictions before boarding your international flight.
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- Question 4
Can you still apply for a change of status?
Since this Proclamation excludes valid visa holders like F1, international student visas and any petitioners filing while in the United States by June 24, 2020, it also covers anyone applying for a change of status.
This includes going from F1 to H1-B or Form I-129 to Form I-485 or H4 to H4EAD
- Question 5
Can you still work for an employer willing to sponsor your H1-B or L1-A visas?
Provided as a primary beneficiary you were in the US by June 24, 2020, any employer can sponsor your work visa as long as you meet all the criteria for the requisite visa.
These filings include Form I-129, Forms I-130, I-140, I-360, Form I-539, Forms I-765 and I‑131, Form I-485.
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