Home » US Immigration - Visas » Biden lifts Immigrant Visa Travel Ban. H1B Travel Ban NOT Lifted yet

Biden lifts Immigrant Visa Travel Ban. H1B Travel Ban NOT Lifted yet

Today, Feb 24th, 2021, President Biden signed a Proclamation (Executive Order) to revoke the previous Proclamation 10014, which banned entry of immigrant visa holders to US. Proclamation 10014 was originally signed by former President Trump on April 22, 2020 and was extended until March 31, 2021.  We will review all the details of the Proclamation signed today by Biden and also status of H1B, L1 and other Travel bans.

Background of Immigrant Visa Travel Ban

After COVID-19 situation worsened, former president Trump on April 22, 2020 signed a Proclamation 10014 (Executive Order) called “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak”. As part of that, there was a 60-day immigrant visa issuance and travel ban for immigrant visa holders. Immigrant visa holders are nothing but the new green card holders entering US for the first-time using immigrant visa issued by US consulates abroad. You can read Trump Travel Ban – Immigrant Visas Entry to US – April 2020

This original proclamation 10014 did not had any H1B, L1, J1 or H4 related travel bans clauses in it. It was primarily targeted for Immigrant visa holders, who would compete with everyone in the open job market in US as they would be green card holders after they enter US.  

Later on, June 22, 2020, the proclamation 10014 was extended by another Proclamation 10052, which is tied to H1B Travel Ban, to last until December 31st, 2020. Later again, it was extended by Proclamation 10131 until March 31, 2021.  Today, Feb 24th, 2021, Biden signed a proclamation that primarily addresses the original Proclamation 10014 that was aimed at Immigrant Visa holders.

Biden Proclamation Lifts Immigrant Visa Travel Ban – Summary

Today, Feb 24, 2021, Biden signed a Proclamation (Executive Order) revoking the previous Proclamation 1004.  Below is the screenshot of the key piece of text from the proclamation signed today. Let’s look at each of the highlighted text separately.

Immigrant Visa Travel Ban Lifted - Feb 2021
Immigrant Visa Travel Ban Lifted – Feb 2021
  • Revocation of Proclamation 10014 :  This is related to the original Proclamation 10014 that was signed by former president Trump on April 22, 2020 to ban entry of immigrant visa holders ( new green card holders) to enter US, including issuance of immigrant visas at US consulates abroad.  In above screenshot, the highlighted text in yellow confirms that this is cancelled and no longer in effect from today.  
  • Revocation of Section 1 of Proclamation 10052 :  Section 1 of Proclamation 10052 basically extended the Immigrant visa ban until December 31, 2020.  Now, this is also revoked/cancelled as per the Biden signed proclamation today. In above screenshot, the highlighted text in Green confirms the same saying that it is not in effect.  What is important to note is ONLY section 1 of Proclamation 10052 is revoked, not the entire proclamation. The 10052 proclamation is the actual H1B, L1, J1, H4, other travel Ban. Other sections that are part of 10052 stand valid.
  • Revocation of Section 1 of Proclamation 10131 :  Section 1 of Proclamation 10131 extends the immigrant visa ban until March 31, 2021.  Now, this is also revoked/cancelled as per the Biden signed proclamation today. In above screenshot, the highlighted text in red confirms the same saying that it is not in effect.  It is important to note that ONLY section 1 of Proclamation 10131 is revoked, not the entire proclamation. The 10131 proclamation is for continuation of H1B, L1, J1, H4, other travel Ban until March 31, 2021. Other sections that are part of 10131 stand valid.

Who all does Immigrant Visa Travel Ban Cancellation cover?

As per the revoked/cancelled immigrant visa entry ban, the below are now eligible to get immigrant visas at US Consulates abroad and enter US.

  • Family members of US Citizens & Permanent residents, who plan to get immigrant visa and enter US
  • Selected applicants in Diversity Visa Lottery holders who plan to enter US on immigrant visa.

Next Steps : As per the proclamation, it instructs the US Dept of State and other relevant agencies to revise their previously issued guidance on immigrant visa issuances and other processes. So, we may expect to see some press releases by the US Dept of State, USTravelDocs websites clarifying the same.

H1B, L1, H4, J1, Others Travel Ban Still in Effect

The H1B, L1, J1, H4 and others Travel Ban continues to be in effect until March 31, 2021. Only Section 1 of the proclamation 10131 was revoked. If you need to get H1B, L1, H4 or other Visa stamp and enter US, you need to be exempt from the travel ban.  You need to qualify under the exceptions for Travel Ban. Read article H1B Travel Ban Exceptions for complete info.

When you go for interview, you need to carry proof indicating that you are exempt from the travel ban. If you do not qualify under the exceptions and try to attend H1B or other visa interview, you will be issued a 221(g) Form that says you did not qualify for exceptions.  Below is sample of the 221g letter that was issued in Jan 2021 saying that your visa was denied based on 212(f) clause. Similar letters were issued in February 2021 as well.

US Visa Rejected under 212f of INA - Blue Slip
US Visa Rejected under 212f of INA – Blue Slip

When can we expect the H1B Travel Ban to be lifted ?

Based on the proclamation signed today and the language in it, many attorneys believe that the H1B, H4, L1, J1, others travel ban would either be set to expire by March 31, 2021 or it may end early by another proclamation from Biden. The below highlighted statement in screenshot from the proclamation is the reason for speculation that it may not be extended. We need to wait and see, what will happen.  

Why H1B travel ban can be lifted
Why H1B travel ban can be lifted

What do you think of the Immigrant Visa Travel ban ending ? Your thoughts on H1B Travel ban ? Share your thoughts in comments.

   


Other Articles

12 Comments

  1. Hi Team,
    After basic questions on Feb 24,2021 in Hyderabad Consulate, Visa Officer has Took my right fingerprints and Passport returned and
    Later handed over a 221g white slip with 3rd check box ticked and requested below letter:
    “Letter from US Chamber of Commerce or other NAM related entity”

    Note: A Proclamation on Revoking Proclamation 10014 (FEBRUARY 24, 2021)

    Please suggest me on this request.

    Reply
  2. Biden is not going to revoke 10052! what ever he said before the election that it harms the US economy, looks like now he still want to keep the visa ban. otherwise he would cancel p.p.10052. My guess he will extend it to another 3 months and break all those are waiting to reduce the amount of new applications.

    Reply
  3. Hi, I have recently shifted from Kansas to Texas and Extension is filed based on Texas location . but i am with same employer and same role.. My I129 include Change of previous Approved employment and also the Extension Option.. So my question is will my Wife H4 be stamped.. I have scheduled her visa appointment tomorrow.

    Reply
  4. I haven’t had the chance to stamp my H1B visa yet due to this proclamation.

    Due to the language in this pp revoke, do you think is a good idea to try to schedule an appointment at the Consulate in my country by April? Meaning that the ban will expire in March 31st and will not be extended (I believe there is no reason for Biden to extend it).

    Reply
  5. I have a stamped H1b visa issued in March 2020 (issued as part of FY20 H1B drive). ‘m I allowed to travel now? or Still I have to wait until other sections of 10052 proclamation are revoked?

    Reply
    • Presidential Proclamations on Novel Coronavirus

      Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, and 10041, the Presidential Proclamation issued on January 25:

      -South Africa;

      -Brazil;

      -The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;

      -The Republic of Ireland;

      -The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)

      -The Islamic Republic of Iran; and

      -The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

      Your transit via Netherlands satisfies the condition for denied USA entry. So avoid EU route.

      Reply
  6. What about people who already have a valid H1 stamp & travel to India for vacation? I believe this ban does not affect those who do have a valid stamp and do not need to go for stamping.

    Reply
  7. Chetna,
    There is no Travel Ban on B1/B2. If you can get a slot for visa stamping, they can come to US. The challenge is getting US visa slots at consulate as they are not open for regular operations.

    Reply

Leave a Comment