Trump Suspends Immigration to USA – With Notable Exceptions

Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order suspending entry of certain employment-based, family-based and other non-US nationals for 60 days.

While temporarily suspending the approval of some Green Card applications, the measure does not immediately limit nonimmigrant visa programs or affect the filing or processing of applications for adjustment of status in the United States.

The Proclamation takes effect from 11.59pm EDT April 23, 2020.

Who is affected by the suspension?

Immigrants outside the United States as of 11:59pm EDT on April 23 who are without a valid immigrant visa or an official travel document will not be permitted entry for 60 days from the effective start of the suspension.

The suspension also halts US lawful permanent residents from being able to sponsor Green Card applications for extended family members, under so-called ‘chain migration’, for the next 60 days.

The Diversity Visa Lottery, which issues about 50,000 Green Cards annually, has also been suspended.

Exceptions to the Proclamation

Exemptions to the temporary entry ban include:

  • Current US Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents)
  • Those with valid US immigrant visas and similar US travel documents
  • Green card applicants already living and working in the US
  • Spouses and unmarried minor children of US citizens
  • Non-US nationals seeking entry to the US on an immigrant visa to work as doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals and their spouses and minor, unmarried children (under 21)
  • EB-5 immigrants
  • Children under 21 of US citizens and prospective adoptees in under IR-4 or IH-4 visa categories
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives
  • Members of the US armed forces and the spouses and children of such individuals
  • Foreign nationals seeking to enter as Special Immigrants in the SI or SQ classification, and the spouse and children of such individuals
  • Foreign nationals whose entry is in the US national interest

L-1, H1-1B & worker programs not affected

Nonimmigrant US work visa programs such as the L-1 and H-1B are not immediately affected by the entry suspension.

However, in the Proclamation, the President has directed the DHS and DOL to assess the impact of temporary foreign workers on US workers within 30 days of the Order taking effect.

We will keep you informed of the outcome of this study and any resulting action.

Impact of the Order

The Proclamation follows a tweet posted by the President on April 21, 2020 promising to suspend all immigration to the US to protect US workers.

It is the latest emergency measure from the US Administration as it looks to protect US workers and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on US public health and economy.

With embassies currently closed and most US visa processing already halted due to the crisis, the suspension is unlikely to be felt immediately, but is expected to block more than 20,000 applicants per month from obtaining a Green Card.

Those found to have violated the Proclamation will, under the Order, be prioritized for removal from the United States.

The 6o-day suspension will be subject to review and could be extended.

It may also be subject to legal challenge.

US immigration advice

We continue to monitor the position closely and are on hand to advise if you are concerned about the developments and effects on US applications or status for you, your family members or employees.

As the situation continues to develop, please contact our US immigration specialists for the latest advice for your specific circumstances.

Last updated: April 23, 2020