COVID-19 Outbreak: Executive Order of April 22, 2020
In response to the economic risk posed by the coronavirus, Trump issued an executive order banning the entry of certain immigrants to the US for 60 days. The ban is not as wide-sweeping as was initially feared, though it will still affect many foreign immigrants.
It’s been widely reported that the issuance of green cards will be blocked. However, the Proclamation does not comment on processing and issuing green cards in the US. The Proclamation is about coming to the U.S. as an immigrant. When you received your green card, and whether you were in the US before the ban came into effect are the important details.
Length of the Ban
The ban officially started on April 23rd, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. It will last for at least 60 days. Although, after 50 days, various federal agencies will make their recommendations to the president to either extend or end the ban.
At this time, the ban does not include nonimmigrant visa holders. Because of this, Fiance (K1) visas are currently not included in the ban. This means that K1 visas should still be processed and issued to foreign fiances of U.S. citizens. However, after 30 days there will be a review to determine if additional restrictions should be made for nonimmigrant visa holders.
Who Does the Ban Affect?
The ban will limit the entry of foreign immigrants who:
- Are outside the United States on the effective date of the ban
- Do not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
- Do not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding
foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date
after that permits travel to the US to seek entry or admission.
This implies that someone who is inside the U.S. during the effective date of April 23 and who has advance parole issued to them on the effective date or during the 60 day ban should be able to depart the U.S. and return safely using advance parole.
The immigration ban will not affect people trying to enter the US who are:
- Legal Permanent Residents (LPR or “green card” holders, if they had their green card before the April 23rd, 2020)
- Members of the US Armed Forces and their spouses and children
- note: The proclamation does not consider the legal status of US armed forces members. Not all armed forces members are U.S. citizens.
- Spouses and children of US citizens who are under the age of 21.
- Note: typically, children of US citizens must also be unmarried, though it is not specified in the proclamation.
- Foreigners who are medical personnel, their spouses, and children.
- COVID-19 researchers and essential workers as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees.
- Prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa.
- Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).
- People who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
- Any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
Please note that it is up to the discretion of the consular officer to determine if you fall into one of these categories.
Additionally, asylum seekers and refugees are not covered by this Ban.
Nothing in this ban prevents the submission of a petition or application for an immigrant benefit. It mainly prevents the use of a visa or travel document to enter the U.S. in the circumstances described above.