Due to COVID-19, we are providing calls via PHONE or VIDEO conferencing for your safety.

Please call us 619.819.9204 we are here for YOU! READ MORE

Justia Lawyer Rating
AILA
AVVO
eb5
MDA

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Immigration Cases

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has been declared a national health emergency has resulted in many barriers on legal immigration.  Such barriers on immigration have included the passage of presidential proclamations limiting the entry of certain aliens, policy changes, office closures at the USCIS and Consular level, interview cancellations, staff shortages, and court rulings. These major developments are discussed in detail below.

The COVID-19 Visa Bans

Beginning on January 21, 2020, with the passage of Proclamation 9984 entitled, “Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” the Trump Administration suspended the entry of those who were physically present in the People’s Republic of China within the 14 days preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

In the months thereafter, as COVID-19 cases began increasing throughout the world, the President issued four additional Proclamations similarly restricting travel of immigrants and non-immigrants physically present in Iran, the Schengen countries, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Brazil within the 14 days preceding their entry. These Proclamations unfortunately have no end date, therefore those wishing to travel must qualify for a national interest exception in order to travel.

The COVID-19 “Visa Bans” can be summed up as follows:

Proclamation 9984 : China Visa Ban (January 21, 2020)

Proclamation 9992 : Iran Visa Ban (February 29,2020)

Proclamation 9993 : European Schengen Area Visa Ban (March 11, 2020)

Proclamation 9996 : Ireland and UK Visa Ban (March 14, 2020)

Proclamation 10041 : Brazil Visa Ban (May 25, 2020)

Visa Bans on Those Presenting a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market

On April 22, 2020 the President signed Proclamation 10014 known as, “Proclamation Suspending the Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.”  On June 22, 2020 Proclamation 10052 was signed which extended the travel restrictions outlined in P.P. 10014.

Proclamation 10014 can be summed up as follows:

As stated in Presidential Proclamation 10014 , “...the entry, during the next 60 days, of certain aliens as immigrants would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Accordingly, P.P. 10014 finds that the present admission of certain aliens as immigrants poses a risk of displacing and placing United States Workers at a disadvantage during the recovery from COVID-19. Effective April 23, 2020, the Proclamation creates the following restrictions on immigration:

Proclamation 10014 suspends and restricts the entry of aliens who were:

  1. Outside of the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation (April 23rd)
  2. Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation (April 23rd)
  3. Do not have an official travel document other than a visa on the effective date of the proclamation (April 23rd) or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission
    1. Official travel documents include a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or advance parole document.

How long is the Proclamation in Effect?

P.P. 10052 extended the P.P. 10014 proclamation until December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary.

Who is Impacted?

The entry of any alien that does not meet the three prong test outlined above and is not specifically exempted from P.P. 10014 is suspended and limited.

Who is Exempt from this Proclamation

P.P. 10014 expressly exempts the following:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S.
  • Aliens who are the spouses of U.S. Citizens
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and any spouse and child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Aliens under 21 years of age who are children of United States Citizens and prospective adoptees
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19
  • Any spouse any unmarried child under 21 years of age of any such alien who is accompanying or following to join the alien
  • Any alien applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • Aliens whose entry furthers important United States law enforcement objectives
  • Any alien seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, and any spouse and child of any such individual
    • SI: Certain aliens employed by the U.S. Government in Iraq or Afghanistan as translators or interpreters
    • SQ: Certain Iraqis or Afghans employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government
  • Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest of the United States (national interest waivers)
  • Aliens seeking entry for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Proclamation 10052 Can Be Summed Up as Follows:

Signed on June 22, 2020, this proclamation extends P.P 10014, suspending the entry of certain foreign nationals who are on employment based nonimmigrant visas. The proclamation states that nonimmigrants “present a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Proclamation 10052 suspends and restricts the entry of aliens who were

  1. Outside of the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation (June 24th)
  2. Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation (June 24th) and
  3. Do not have an official travel document other than a visa on the effective date of the proclamation (June 24th) or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission
    1. Official travel documents include a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or advance parole document.

How long is the Proclamation in Effect?

This proclamation will expire on December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary.

Who is Impacted?

Entry into the United States, by any alien,  pursuing any of the following visas at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate is suspended and limited:

  1. H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien that is accompanying or following to join the individual pursuing this visa category
  2. J visa,  this applies to the extent therefore of  any alien participating in an trainee, intern, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join them.
  3. L Visa, any any alien accompanying, or following to join such alien

Who is Exempt from this Proclamation

The same exemptions listed above for P.P. 10014 apply to P.P. 10052 .

What Family Preference Categories are Impacted?

Presidential Proclamation 10014 and 10052 suspend the entry of and the issuance of visas for the following types of family-sponsored immigrants until December 31, 2020.

Who is Impacted?

  1. F2A Spouses and the children of green card holders applying at the consulate
  2. F-2B Unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders applying at the consulate who are 21 years of age and older
  3. F-3 Married sons and daughters of US citizens applying at the consulate (children under 21 years of age or older are exempt from this requirement
  4. F-4 Brothers and sisters of US citizens applying at the consulate

As you can see these categories make up the vast majority of the family-sponsored preference categories on the visa bulletin. Only very narrow categories of individuals have been specifically exempted from the Proclamations.

The Sapochnick Law Firm will continue to monitor developments with respect to policy changes and will post updates on  the VisaLawyerBlog and in the firm’s Coronavirus Resource Center as additional information becomes available.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Great immigration lawyer, very professional, knowledgeable and experienced. Jacob always answered my questions, e-mails and calls; great customer service from him and everybody at his office. I highly recommend Jacob, probably the best immigration lawyer out there. Plinio Franca
★★★★★
I trust you know how much all of us at the Spreckels Organ Society appreciate your incredible generosity in providing legal assistance with the visas required by the international artists last year during our International Summer Organ Festival. We consider it an honor that you and your firm provided this service, and were delighted to publicize your firm in our concert materials. George H.
★★★★★
That's good news on the approval of our 3 executive L1A visas. You fought a tough RFE, but we won. We are pleased to be working with you. KB is also bringing passports tomorrow again to the US Embassy in Tashkent for visa processing. We look forward to his arrival to the US. Sarvar
★★★★★
I wanted to thank again and again for obtaining my E1 Treaty Trader visa for me. The process was not easy, especially since our trade was all based on Technology. You knew the law, and was able to craft an outstanding file to be presented to Immigration. We are now ready to take the business to the next level. Toda Raba
★★★★★
Thanks for helping me with my marriage-based immigration case. You were very accessible - taking my calls, returning my messages and emails promptly. You answered all my questions. I was most impressed and relieved that you attended the immigration interview with me and my wife. You made the whole process streamline and simple. You really know your stuff, and you're a nice, friendly guy as well. Shane P.