Just a few hours before the H1-B entry ban was set to expire, President Trump extended it for another 90-days, until March 31, 2021. All the entry restrictions from the June 24, 2020 Proclamation stand as is, thus restricting thousands of legitimately earned US work-visa holders around the world from entering the US.
This entry ban continues to impact various categories of work visas including H1-B, J1, L1 as well as 9,000 diversity lottery winners of 2020!
Limitations on legal immigration was executed under the pretext of saving American jobs for locals and not have foreign skilled labor take them over. Coronavirus pandemic had increased unemployment across the United States which led to such sweeping limitations on foreign labor force.
How Does The Entry Ban Extension Impact Your US Visa Status?
The extension to the restrictions directly impacts applicants outside the United States who are waiting to be given their new visas, be it a non-immigrant work visa like a newly approved H1-B or an immigrant visa based on green card applications. These could be either sponsored by spouses or employers.
H4 visa holders are restricted entry until March 31, 2021 as well.
Another category that is hard hit are the diversity visa lottery winners of 2020. More than 9,000 individuals who won the lottery in 2020 will be unable to enter the US due to the extension of the proclamation. The diversity lottery or the Green Card lottery, as it is normally called allows people from under represented countries to move to the US. This will now be halted until Spring 2021
If you are currently outside the US, this is how your visa status is impacted by the Extension of the entry ban:
- No new H1-B visas will be stamped
- Petitioner can enter the US with an existing valid H1-B visa
- H4, dependent visa holders may enter the US only if the primary beneficiary, (H1-B visa holder) is already in the US
- Limited consular processing abroad; this means all petitions will be handled on case-by case basis; appointments might be necessary at the US consulates
You Could Be Eligible For The DropBox?
If you are currently already residing within the US, this is how your visa status is impacted by the extension of the entry ban:
- H1-B Lottery 2022 will take place as scheduled
- H1-B extensions and transfers within the US are permitted
- H1-B Change of Status is permitted
- Green Card applications will continue being processed as per the queue
- F1 students can change over to H1-B within the US, if they have a sponsoring employer
- Forms I-140 and I-485 will not be impacted by this extension
The Silver Lining
If this extension continues and family-based green cards are left under-utilized, these unused visas will overflow into the employment-based categories, giving a huge push in the priority dates for them.
This was seen in October 2020’s visa bulletin wherein many employment based green card holders got a major forward movement in their waiting line. And a similar forward movement can be anticipated in October 2021.
Stay tuned for the latest updates here.