H1B and L1 US Visa Entry Ban Exceptions from August 2020 - Trump EO

H1B, L1 US Entry Ban News – New Exceptions for Stamping, Travel (Aug 2020)

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 120 Comments

As most of you know, on June 22, 2020, Trump issued a Proclamation banning entry of H1B, L1 and other visa holders who present risk to US  labor market. There were some amendments done and clarifications provided after initial order to allow certain dependents.  There were few lawsuits filed on this entry ban, including support by Google, Apple, Facebook on the impact to US economy with this ban. All of these seem to have triggered this update.  

Today, US Department of State, updated their National Interest Exceptions guidance on the H1B, L1 and other visas entry ban. It added many new exceptions and gave new criteria that allows many H1B, L1 and other visa holders to apply for US visa stamping. We will cover all those details in this article. In interest of our audience, we focus only on H1B, L1, H4 & L2 visas exceptions.

Background: If you are looking for background, current status on the Trump Executive Order/ Proclamation on the US entry ban for H1B and other visa holders, you should read : COMPLETE Details on Trump Travel Ban – H1B, L1

Previous Visa Stamping, Travel Exceptions are still Valid : Firstly, the previous exceptions of executive order continue to be valid.  In short the previous guidance is : if you were in US on June 24 or had valid H1B or L1 visa on the same date; or you fall under national interest, like you were doing anything related to COVID-19 pandemic or critical medical research; or US Govt or defense related critical work, then the executive order or proclamation does not apply to you and you can get US visa stamping, enter US.  

Below are the various new exceptions and criteria that are listed by US Department of State. We will group them by visa type for easy review.

H1B Entry Ban New Exceptions – Extensions, Criteria List

Below are the new additions and clarifications for H1B visa holders from today’s update

H1B Travel Ban does not apply to Extensions

If you were working in US on H1B extension with same employer and same job role and stuck out of US due to travel restrictions, now you can get US Visa stamping. They classify this as “resuming ongoing employment”. US Consular officers will look at form I-129 Part II, question 2 to verify if it was an extension. See below screenshot on the exact field.

Option B - H1B Extension - I129 form
Form I-129 for H1B Extensions – Same employer, Same Job

H1B Holders new criteria to get US visa stamping, US entry

If you are a classified as technical specialist, senior level manager or any other H1B worker, whose travel is necessary to help US economy recovery then US consular officer would determine based on below criteria. You NEED to meet at least TWO of the FIVE listed criteria below.

Criteria 1 : Continued Need for H1B holders, Remote Working:

They want to ensure, that there is continued need for your work or position in US during COVID-19 pandemic. For that they will check H1B LCA approval date. If your H1B Labor Condition Application(LCA) was approved by DOL during or after July 2020, then indicates the continued need for business during COVID-19. 

If the H1B LCA was approved before July 2020, then Consular officer would review on case by case basis to understand need and make decision. If you can perform the work remotely from outside US, then you do not qualify for this indicator or criteria point.

You can also watch the below YouTube video, it covers all details in article

Criteria 2 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, Need :

The H1B holders job duties fall under critical infrastructure sectors and meet critical infrastructure need. The critical infrastructure need is established, if the applicant holds either of the below two positions

  1. Senior level resource in the company and the job duties are unique and needed for management and success of overall company; OR
  2. The H1B applicant’s job duties are really specialized and provide significant and unique contributions to the company

Critical Infrastructure Sectors are chemical, communications, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors, transportation, and water systems.

If we look closely, this criteria is subjective and US Consular officer has discretion to make a judgment. The company need to give justification on H1B holder’s importance to the job.

Criteria 3 – Wage Level is at least 15% more than Prevailing wage

If the wage or base salary given to H1B holder is above the prevailing wage level by at least 15% as listed on LCA, then they H1B holder will meet this criteria.

  • You need to check Part F, Questions 10 and 11 on H1B LCA. Check this Sample H1B LCA at Microsoft  that clearly exceeds prevailing wage by 15%. See below screenshot.
  • You can Search, View LCA by case number on H1B Grader LCA Search or even Browse LCAs by company to know your LCA related wages.
Sample H1B LCA with Wage more than Prevailing Wage
Sample H1B LCA with wage rate that is at least 15% more than Prevailing wage

 Criteria 4 – Unusual Education, Training or Experience

  If the H1B holder has unusual experience or education in speciality occupation, then they would meet this criteria. Some of the examples that can indicate your unusual experience or education is to have a doctorate or professional degree, or you have many years of relevant work experience and your work is really critical work to the H1B sponsor.

Criteria 5 – Financial hardship for US employer

If the H1B holder cannot arrive in US and work, there will be financial hardship for US employer. In such cases, those H1B holders would meet this criteria.  US Consular officer would review, if the company has any financial or contract obligations that they need to meet for this ;or if the employer cannot do business;  or they cannot go back to pre-COVID level of operations without H1B employee.  Below are just some general examples. It is the consular officer who would assess these and make a decision.

  • For instance, let’s say you are working in a client contract that needs you to work from US soil and if you cannot go back and work in US, the employer would lose their contract and have financial hardship.
  • Another example is, if you are in health care or Govt contracts and they want the H1B worker to be in US for managing their infrastructure or do work with them. No remote work possible and the employer would lose the contract or cannot do any business.

L1A Visa Holders US Entry Ban – New Exceptions

Below are the new additions and clarifications for L1A visa holders from today’s update

  • Resume on-going employment as L1A: If you plan to go back to US to resume work at the same employer in the same position and on same L1A visa, then you can get US visa stamping and travel to US.
  • Critical Business Need in Critical Infrastructure Sectors: Similar to above H1B criteria 2, the L1A holder should do critical business need work and be part of the critical infrastructure sectors. The L1A holder NEED to meet TWO of below THREE criteria and does not plan to establish a new office in US.
  • In a senior level executive or manager position
  • Has spent multiple years in the company at their overseas office. The person has substantial knowledge and experience with the company. The company will face financial loss to train a similar worker in the company, instead of the experienced L1A holder.
  • Will meet critical business need for company that is part of critical infrastructure sectors.

Also, if the L1A holder is planning to establish new office in US and meets two of three above criteria, then the new office should also employ directly or indirectly five or mor US workers to meet the criteria for getting US visa stamping and entry.   

L1B Visa Holders US Entry Ban – New Exceptions

Below are the new additions and clarifications for L1B visa holders from today’s update

  • Resume on-going employment as L1B: Similar to above, if the L1B holder plans to resume work at the same employer in the same position and on same L1B visa, then they can get US visa stamping and travel to US.
  • Technical Expert – Critical Infrastructure Need: The Technical expert on L1B visa would assist critical infrastructure need and has to meet ALL of the below THREE conditions to satisfy this criteria to get Visa stamping and travel to US.
  • L1B holder’s job duties and specialized knowledge will provide significant and unique contributions to the company.
  • The L1B holders specialized knowledge is related to critical infrastructure need ( see above H1B Criteria 2) and
  • The L1B holder has worked for multiple years at the company outside of US that indicates substantial experience and knowledge. Also, the company would face financial hardship, if they want to train a similar worker in the company instead of the experienced L1B holder.

 H4, L2 Visa Holders US Entry Ban – New Exceptions

As long as the primary H1B or L1 visa holder qualifies for any of the above exceptions and can get Visa stamping, then their dependents on H4 Visa or L2 Visa can get stamping and enter US as well. All the previous exceptions for H4, L2 visa holders continue to be in place.

Process to get US Visa for H1B, L1, H4 or L2 Visa holders

Firstly, most US consulates are not open for regular operations. Many are open only for Emergency Appointments. You can check US Consulates Open Status, India Consulates  Updates . Now, if you qualify for any of the above listed National Interest Exceptions as H1B, L1 or their dependents, then you need to follow the below process to get US Visa Stamping/ foil in passport.

  • You need to follow the guidance given by the US Consulate in your current country and request for emergency appointment.
  • You will need to provide specific details in the emergency appointment request on why you qualify for the emergency appointment. Ideally, you should provide documentary proof or evidence that indicates why you meet the National Interest Exception and qualify for emegecny appointment.
  • The final determination on your eligibility for National Interest Exception would be made by the consular officer. So, until your visa stamping is done, there is no guarantee that you will get US visa stamping.

You can read two of our recent User Experiences on getting Emergency Appointments in India for US Visa stamping based on Medical reasons.  You can also join Telegram Community Group for US Travel Ban, if you want to interact with community.   

What do you think of the update from US State Dept ?  Does it help many stuck waiting ? Add your thoughts in comments

   

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Comments ( 120 )

  1. Harsh

    I have a valid work authorisation and I-94 stamp till December 2022 (it was renewed in Dec 2019 when I changed jobs). However, my H1B visitor visa stamp expired in May 2020. I’m planning to travel back to India for the H1B renewal, but am unsure how the Executive Order will affect my chances of getting approved/rejected. I’m not completely sure if I fall under the Exceptions since technically this H1B stamp is for a different employer than the expired H1B stamp in my passport right now).

    Looking to hear if anyone has a perspective here or any relevant experience. Thanks!

  2. Nick Josh

    For folks in USA currently planning winter travel to India on the usual 1 month long holidays to India during Thanksgiving/Christmas/NY/Jan/Feb holidays, please be aware that all U.S. consulates in India are not open to regular/routine visa processing. Travel only in case it is an justifiable emergency for you, AND if you are not subject to travel ban PP10052 AND if you qualify for dropbox for good measure. Regular visa appointments are not available. Only pre-approved EA, dropbox and Mission Critical visas are your options for visa application. EA pending request backlog has gone to 3-4 weeks in some cities since mid to late September, so even justifiable emergency cases may not be able to secure EA request approval quickly. Lastly, all international arrivals to India are subject to 7-day institutional quarantine in government facilities or hotels at your own expense. Please plan accordingly, and plan ahead.

    1. Utkarsh

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for pretty well summarizing the current situation on visa. very helpful!.

      I’ve question on my wife visa drop box eligibility.

      My wife is in India since Jan 2020, her h4 visa got expired in September 2020, can she eligible for h4 drobox? as I’m in US on h1 (principal applicant).

      Appreciate your response.

      1. Nick Josh

        @Utkarsh
        Prima facie, she may be eligible for dropbox, but I highly advise making your own determination using the guidance available on State Department website. Your wife may also be eligible for Emergency Appointment (EA) with Medical Emergency reason (family separation grounds), in addition to dropbox.

        (a) If dropbox is in one of the categories affected by PP10052 visa ban, then see the section for “H-4, L-2, and J-2 applicants” in the NIE exemptions publication by State Department:-
        https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/exceptions-to-p-p-10014-10052-suspending-entry-of-immigrants-non-immigrants-presenting-risk-to-us-labor-market-during-economic-recovery.html

        (b) Also check the “Spouse and Child (derivative applications)” section in NAM vs DHS order publication by State Department. Your employer (prinicipal visa beneficiary’s employer) must be a member of one of the 5 associations that were plaintiffs in NAM vs DHS:-
        https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/court-order-regarding-presidential-proclamation-10052.html

        (c) Generally speaking, eligibility for dropbox (Interview Waiver program) is dependent on specific set criteria that the visa applicant must meet. Check these 2 links for Dropbox eligibility:
        http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp
        https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/dos-temporary-expansion-interview-waiver-eligibility

    2. SI

      Nick,

      Thank you so much for summarizing the current situation on the visa. You are really helping a lot of folks who are concerned about this situation. I have a question I hope you will help me.

      I have a valid visa till Aug 2021 with my old employer(XXX) & was working for a client (YYY). Beginning of this year I transferred my h1 from old Employer (XXX) to Client (YYY) everything got approved with new i797 & i94 till 2023.

      I am planning to go to India due to some family reasons. I tried to book a Visa appointment (DropBox) currently eligible as I have a valid visa till Aug 2021. I can see the dates available for the Dropbox option after answering all the questionnaires to be eligible for DropBox.

      Will, there be any issues as I am trying to renew my H1 visa with a change of employer – DropBox. Will my visa be renewed? I can see the dates available & I can book them as of now. If for some reason I couldn’t renew my visa, can I return back to the USA with my old valid visa?

      Thank you for your time & help.

  3. MS

    Hello,

    I am planning to travel to India in Nov 2020 and have booked drop box appointment for Nov 5 for my h1 stamping, tentatively.

    Anyone who has got their h1 visa stamped via drop box recently?

    1. VIN

      Hello MS,
      Did you book your drop box appointment recently ? I heard consulate have stopped the drop box appointments in september due to high spread of covid cases in India. Is my statement correct ? Can you please let me know on which date you booked your drop box appointment for Nov 5th .
      Thanks in Advance.

  4. VIN

    Hi Everyone,
    I have this question . I was in USA when this proclamation was made and with an expired visa status and had applied an extension.Due to some family exigency need to travel back to India next month.My extension of stay got approved in August ,will I get a stamping appointment ? I see there are some exceptions given on the proclamation announced on June 22nd. Am I eligible to get these exceptions ?

      1. MS

        It’s the regular drop box appointment booking procedure. I’ve booked for Chennai consulate.

        Also mentioned detailed steps to book the dropbox appointment in this link :
        https://redbus2us.com/us-visa-stamping-india-dropbox-appointment-must-if-eligible-sep-1/

        1. Mallanagouda Patil

          Did you book recently? Because I heard to get an appointment need approval on case basis? is that true? I also heard the dates we are getting now is somewhere in april.

          1. MS

            hey Mallanagouda / VIN,

            I have booked my appointment on oct 13th.what I observed is that the slots are opening for 2/3 weeks a month before and all are getting booked immediately as soon as those available. as of today the slots are opened till Nov 6 but all are booked. If you pay the fee and keep checking for the slots availability at least a month before then there are good no. of chances of getting new slots or even early slots which are available after rescheduled/cancelled.

    1. Nick Josh

      If you were in USA when the visa ban proclamation was announced on 22nd June (Proclamation Number: PP10052), then you are not subject to the proclamation PP10052 and the ban won’t be applicable to you. As a consequence, you are not subject to the NIE exemptions or to NAM vs DHS petitioner concessions. You will get the visa through regular processing of visa application without being subject to any bans. However, beware! In-person appointments i.e. regular/routine visa operations are still suspended across most US consulates and embassies in India for safety reasons and limited staff availability. Only (a) Dropbox applications, (b) Mission critical visas and (c) Emergency Appointments (EA) — only when EA requests are pre-approved by consular authorities– are available as your visa application modes. Routine OFC + face to face appointments are still not available. You have to make a compelling case in your request for EA, and only on pre-approval by them, you will be allowed and be able to secure EA through website. Dropbox appointments are quite rare and get taken very quickly, so you will have to keep checking regularly and book one as soon as you see availability. If possible and just to be sure, take some proof along to demonstrate you were inside US when ban PP10052 was announced. Good luck!

      1. Anton

        Hey Nick! Thank you for this reply! I’m in somewhat similar situation. I was in the US at the date of proclamation on B1/B2. Submitted L1A case and got i797 approval. I’m currently officially employed at the company that submitted petition. But need to leave the US in Dec.. Scheduled viza appointment at us embassy in Kyiv (I’m from Ukraine) on Dec’9. Am I right that I can proceed and hope that my L1A viza will be stamped? Thank a lot!

        1. Nick Josh

          @Anton
          Let me clarify. The above information I previously stated is true if you were previously on a certain visa category and physically present in USA on June 22, 2020 when PP10052 was announced, and if you are now looking to stamp visa in the same visa category that you previously held a visa in, on or before June 22, 2020. Simply put, if you were in USA on June 22, 2020, then H1B to H1B renewals or H4 to H4 renewals or L1A to L1A renewals will not face any issues as such applicants would not be subject to PP10052 visa ban. This determination can be clearly made from the proclamation language and State Department. guidance. Your specific case is a new visa stamping (not renewal) in a new visa category after a Change Of Status (COS), from B1/B2 to L1A. Any new visa stamping in one of the affected visa categories in PP10052 visa ban after a COS is a grey area, even if you were present in USA on June 22, 2020 and even if you had valid visa in another category. About such cases, there is not sufficient guidance or language in the proclamations or NIEs to make a clear determination. Please ask your company’s attorneys and/or State Department Travel on Twitter (@TravelGov on Twitter) or to the U.S. Embassy for guidance. You may also read through the State Department’s National Interest Exemptions (NIE) to PP10052 publication to see if you may qualify for an exemption, and you may also check the NAM vs DHS publication to check if your Employer may be a member of one of the 5 plaintiff associations. Needless to say, only travel out of U.S. in case of justifiable family/medical emergency with appropriate documentation as the covid situation is fluid across the world. And if there is no clarity to make a clear determination regarding chances of visa approval after COS, avoid taking on risk by traveling out. Good luck!

          1. Anton

            Hey, Nick! Extremely helpful, thank you! Our lawyers advise not to take risk, and I would have said the same in their shoes… My hope in this case is based solely on logic, as I can see no logical reason to not stamp my viza. I was in the US on the day of PP10052. I have an active L1A status and am officially accordingly employed. Thus I see the viza as a kind of formal proof in this case. But, I understand that not all decisions are made based on logic 🙂
            Could you please advise on the following case. What if for whatever reason I don’t have a viza stamp, is there a chance for me to return to the US on B1/B2 (and then reapply for change of status)? It looks like an option on one hand, on the other – a tricky one.
            Thanks again! Your help is much appreciated.

  5. Lakshmi K

    Hi Team,
    I on H1, which I have converted status from H4 to H1 after coming to US, and working in US from 2017 and I am with the same employer and job from 2018 to till date. So I have H4 stamped but not H1 if at all I need to travel to India in urgent bases do I eligible to schedule visa interview for H1 stamping. if so please do provide or guide with information.

  6. Stephanie

    Hi there! I am currently in the US on a L1B visa, I have been here since Sep 2019 with just one visit back to Ireland in Dec 2019. If I return to Ireland now, will I be able to re-enter the US? Thank you so much in advance for your help!

    1. Nick Josh

      The June 22 bans (PP10052) won’t affect you since you were not outside the US on that date, but the region specific covid-19 bans (PP9996, PP9993) may apply to you when you are trying to return. But there are provisions for national interest exemptions and procedures for specific visa classes. See this State Dept. release:
      https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/national-interest-exceptions-from-certain-travelers-from-the-schengen-area-uk-and-ireland.html

    2. Nick Josh

      This link has details on procedures to secure exemption from the covid-19 schengen and UK, Ireland travel bans:
      https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/national-interest-exceptions-from-certain-travelers-from-the-schengen-area-uk-and-ireland.html

  7. Sahithi

    Hi,

    Currently, I am on CPT and my H1B was approved in June 2020. I got i797B because attorney applied my H1 using consulate option instead of COS. Can I travel to India for H1-B stamping? Please let me know the possibilities.

    Thanks !

  8. Surendhar

    Hi Kumar,

    I am in USA and need to travel to India for a medical emergency. My current stamping expired in Apr 2020. I have to go for drop box in India. Looks like Im eligible as my employer and role are same with my extension of H1 until Apr 2023.
    Can you clarify if I’m eligible for drop box.

    Advance Thanks for your response.

    1. Nick Josh

      If you were in USA before June 22, 2020, the visa ban (PP10052) does not apply to you. You do not have to demonstrate anything like resuming with same employer at same position, or show your qualification for NIE exemptions, etc. Just be aware that routine visa operations like H-1B, H-4, B1/B2, etc. are still suspended across U.S. Consulates in India. Only EA, very sparse dropbox slots and Mission critical visa appointments are operational. Plan ahead accordingly. Dropbox eligiblity is different. See below link to understand if you qualify for dropbox. They will apply PP10052 visa bans to dropbox applications only if you were outside USA on 22 June 2020, and you did not have a valid, unexpired visa on that date or your visa subsequently expired before your travel back to USA.
      Eligibility for dropbox:
      https://redbus2us.com/us-visa-dropbox-eligibility-changed-24-months/

  9. Sai

    Hello,

    I have requested for the EA for my H1B on Aug 24 at Hyderabad consulate. I haven’t received any response yet.

    I called the consulate several times to find out my request status. The answer I get every time is “Request is still open and you will receive an email when there is a decision made.”

    When I asked for the timeline to get the email, the response is ” There is no fixed time frame.”

    My question here is:

    1. Did anyone requested for EA for H1B visa? If yes, did they get any response from the consulate(particularly Hyderabad).

    Thanks in advance!

      1. Sai

        Hi Premchand,

        No luck, I haven’t heard anything from consulate yet.

        It is better to postpone your travel plans if it is not emergency. As there are no signs of getting a slot in near future.

  10. Nik1234

    My wife h1b extension was not approved. She left US in February 2020 for India right away. Her new H1b got approved 4 weeks later for the same employer and same role. She satisfies all the criteria for drop box. She is going for drop box appointment in October. Even though she is working for same employe and same role, same visa category, her employer filed the application as new application instead of continuation of employment. Will she be eligible for the exception of working for same employer same role.

    1. Nick Josh

      To satisfy the Form I-129 Part II Question 2 Option (b) requirement of the NIE, she could potentially demonstrate eligibility for exception if she can carry letter from her Employer (letter from both Manager and HR) stating she is returning to resume employment in the same company and same role. If the HR and Manager can also indicate in the letter the date when she originally joined the employer (Hire date), and also the date when she started in the said position/role which she is looking to continue in, that may also back up the case and prove the point. Please report back your wife’s visa application (dropbox) outcome.

  11. Santosh

    Hi Kumar,

    Thank you for the post, this provides lot of useful info. Can you please provide info based on my case. I am currently in USA on H-1B, my H-1B visa stamp expired in Feb 2020, am currently with same employer and on H-1B extension ( I-94 valid until Feb-2023)

    I am planning to travel to India in Oct 2020 and would need a new visa stamp to return to USA.
    Based on the questionnaire in consulate, seems i am eligible for dropbox).
    Based on my understanding , reading this post, since am planning to apply for Visa for continued ongoing employment , basically extension with same employer
    The Visa ban doesn’t affect me, i am exempted from it ?
    Do I have to get emergency appointment date from the consulate or that’s not required for dropbox ?
    Thanks

      1. Santosh

        Yes, seems like if your in US on June 22/24, and your going for extension of your existing H-1B visa, your not affected by the the proclamation ban.

  12. Anu

    Hi Kumar,

    I’m in US now. I have my passport stamped till Oct 2nd 2021. I’m planning to go to India next year Jan. Can I go to India and return US after 1month?
    Will I face any issues due to new rule

  13. Siva

    I am on L1B and current in US(2019-till date) working for company x and got my Fresh H1B through employer y and approved in August. Will.be changing employer soon.If I travel to india.will I able to go for stamping and come back to US. Travelling to india is feasible option?

  14. Moinak Sau

    Hi,

    I was in USA in 2019 Jan and came back to India. My H1B visa is valid till 2021 Feb from June 2018. My stamping was not done after I came back.
    Neither my employer , nor my client or location got changed. Am I eligible for the exception?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Moinak,
      Well, this is slightly subjective as you are not working in US and trying to renew… As this is not continuation of H1B Job, they may or may not. You can give it a try.

  15. ND

    Hi,

    My current h1b expires 12 SEP 2020. I have I-797A h-1b extension approved on 20 MAY 2020. I was in USA on 24 June, 2020 and valid h-1b. I am planning to travel to India by Nov-Dec 2020 and come back in a month.
    I have a few questions.
    1. Am I eligible to get Visa stamp under emergency appointment criteria? It seems I could.
    2. Am I eligible for dropbox? I have used all 6 yrs of h-1b. Sometime back when dropbox was not available I was able to only find consulate appointments dates for next year.

    I am working on getting an emergency date from consulate before I can travel.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      ND,
      1. You would be very likely.
      2. What do you mean by all 6 years ? are you working on H1B with approved I-140 option ? How long is the H1B extension approved until ?

      1. ND

        Hi Kumar,

        I have been on h1b almost 6 years now. I have i140 and extension is approved till 2023. Do you know if Dropbox eligibility for such case? Based on criteria it seemed to me I am eligible for Dropbox as visa was expired just this month.

        Are there cases where candidates are eligible under exception but not getting stamp or appointment from consulate?

        I got appointment under normal appointments for 16 feb 2021. Do we know if those appointments are honored currently?

  16. Abhishek

    Hi,

    My L1 was scheduled for 2nd Apr but got cancelled. Now, I have been trying to book an appointment at Chennai after the new National Interest Exemption. But i don’t see any slots available. Facing this for last 20 days. Has anyone been able to book/get L1/H1 new visa?

      1. Abhishek

        Yes.
        They are saying that once available, you can book from the portal. Also, they can’t comment on availability. This is confusing as other visa categories are getting processed.

  17. Meenakshi

    Hi Team, I had extension and H1B stamped in my passport till Dec 2020 and staying in India for past 1 year. I am scaring to travel during this Pandamic. If I miss to travel before this year end, Is there any chance to traval in next year by applying cap exempt (working for same employer). Kindly let me know your suggestion Is it better to travel before this year end OR by applying cap exempt since Visa rules are changing hard day-by-day.

    Regards,
    Meenakshi

  18. Aila

    Hi Kumar,

    I am in US for past 1 year on L2 VISA. My employer filed for H1 under Change of Status. Now i have approved petition, 797 A and updated i 94 and my COS will be valid from October 1, 2020.

    I want to travel to India but i understand that to travel back to US, i would need H1 stamping in India. Can i travel to India and get H1 visa stamped at this time ? If no, what should be my next step and when can i plan to travel to India.

    thanks a lot !

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Aila,
      No, you may or may not be able to as it is a COS and different visa category of stamping, it is not clear. Check with Consulate.

  19. Kirti

    Hi,

    I was in the Us on 24th June. I was with my previous employer until Oct 2019 and the h1b visa expired in the same month. I have approved petition unitl 2021 but I donot have H1 b visa for my current employer. Do I fall in the exception category. Please suggest

  20. SS

    Hi Team,

    Thanks a lot for valuable suggestion and explanation.
    I am currently in USA on H1B visa, changed my employer last year (June 2019 ).
    My current H1B petition valid till May 2022, will I be eligible for H1B stamping as per new rule ?.
    Thanks a lot for your support

  21. Niha

    Hi, I m currently on H1B (without stamping)and staying in USA. I applied for h1 transfer to a different company. Once I get an approval can I go for stamping and come back before December?
    What are my chances of approval?
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Niha,
      If you were in US on the day of proclamation in same visa category, you should be eligible. You can write to consulate and confirm before you travel.
      approval chances depend on many things, no one knows

  22. Abhi

    Hi Kumar,

    My H1B (with visa stamped) expires Sept 30th 2020. I was in US on June 24th (day of EO). I received H1B extension approval (with the same employer) which will kick in on Oct 1st 2020.
    1. My interpretation on your article is that I fall under the “H1B Travel Ban does not apply to Extensions” part of your article. Thus I can travel to india for stamping (provided i find a visa date or get it expedited). Is this correct?
    2. Are depends on H4 also exempt under this rule?

  23. SaiKrishna

    Thanks Kumar. But what’s the reason I can choose for raising an expedite appointment, there is no option for “exempt from presidential order”. The whole thing seems very confusing to me because they have give multiple options for getting appointments even for people who fall under the executive order but for people who are exempt (In the US on June 24), there seems to be no option to get an appointment and come back to the US.

    Also, if spouse is on H1 in the US, can I request for a family separation appointment even if I am on H1?

    Thanks a lot for your responses in this tough time.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      SaiKrishna,
      You are right, there is no dropdown for it. Many have chosen medical or business reason from dropdown and put in text and attachments supporting the same. Many H4s have use the medical reason and put in spouse seperation info and they were in US. That’s what worked.

  24. Fedotov

    Hi all!
    Just received a note from the attorney that my H1B was approved (H4s change of status are still pending and there was no biometrics appointment as of yet). I am on F1 OPT cap-gap, my family is on F2, all of us are in the United States.
    Can we go for stamping?
    Is it an exemption, if I worked for the same company, in the same position, and none of us left the US since June 2018?

    Or should we wait for Trump’s executive order to expire?

    Thank you!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Fedotov,
      It is slightly grey area, I would suggest you check with Consulate in your country before you plan anything.
      If I were you, I would wait for all these confusions to get over. Unless real emergency, do not travel out.

  25. Nithyananthan

    Hi Kumar,
    Am in USA, My H1b Visa expired in June 2019 , Extension applied & got approved till Dec 31 2021. My wife and kid are in India. Travel planned and applied for stamping appointment in March 2020. All cancelled due to consulate closure. My question is,

    1. Now can i Travel to India for stamping and return to USA ?
    2. For h1b and h4 is der Emergency Appointment available?
    3. Ly h4 EA is getting approved, will dey approve for my case?
    4. What documents should I produce for emergency?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Nithyanathan,
      1. Yes. You need to raise Emergency appointment.
      2. Yes.
      3. You need to try first.
      4. Your status documents, proof that you were in US on day of proclamation.

  26. Jacob

    Hello, I am a European citizen working on H-1B. My first stamp expired on August 21, 2020. I have already received a renewed I-797A and my updated i94 is valid until August 2023. I am currently in the US, but have been trying to go to Europe for sometime to visit my family. Unfortunately, I knew I would not be able to return, so I have been waiting for new announcements. Under the new exceptions release on 8/12 by Dept. of State I am meeting at least 2 of the 5 criteria: (1) My LCA was approved by DOL in mid-July; and (2) My wage is 30 percent above prevailing wage. Does this mean that I am eligible for a routine (non-emergency) appointment in the US embassy in my home country (subject to resumption of routine services) and I should be able to return to the US if I decide to travel back to Europe?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Deepak,
      No, regular appointments are not resume. EA should be based on the list of items listed in this article and the previous article that is linked on the top.

  27. Nicole

    Hello Kumar,
    I am on my OPT (for 3 weeks already) and my H1B COS is approved. As you know, the COS starts on October 1st. I was in the US in June and I still am.

    I need to travel to my country next week (therefore before October 1st) and I won’t be back until November.
    My question:
    Because I was in the US during the travel ban proclamation, does that mean that I can apply to the stamp in the US consulate in my country and be back without problems? Or do I need to be in one of the exemptions?

    (I ask because in June I was on my F-1 visa)

    Thank you

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Nicole,
      Well, this is slightly grey area. It applies to the same visa class. So, your case may be different as you were in F1, so I am not sure, how consulate will treat that. Write to consulate and check, before you travel.

  28. Prathap

    Principal applicant (me) is currently in USA (been in USA since the June 24th proclamation). Spouse is in India now,.. Can she seek consulate VISA appointment?

    Would that be allowed under current set of exceptions for H4 VISA holders ? Can you point to link to article in this site listing this exception?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Prathap,
      Yes. It is the first link in second paragraph. Check https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/exceptions-to-p-p-10014-10052-suspending-entry-of-immigrants-non-immigrants-presenting-risk-to-us-labor-market-during-economic-recovery.html

  29. Anil Reddy

    Hi Kumar,

    I recently came to India (Aug 15th) as my father passed away on Aug 11th. I decided to travel as I have seen this update on Aug 12th. I have valid I797 till July 2023 and my previous visa got expired by July 2020. I’m qualifying for more than 2 out of 5.

    My question is, how to get appointment for visa stamping to get my visa stamped and travel back to US.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Anil Reddy,
      You will need to raise an emergency appointment and then apply for it. You will get approval based on the proofs you submit and then they will open the slots for you.

  30. Srini

    Hi Kumar,
    I have two questions

    1)I’m on H1b and I was in the US on June 24 does this executive order applies to me?

    2) If it applies to me can I go to India and attend visa stamping?
    I have valid h1b visa stamping till Oct 10, 2020.
    Recently I got an h1b extension with the same employer with the same location
    I believe I satisfy only one exception “resuming ongoing employment” from the above list is this enough or do I need to satisfy other criteria as well?

    Thanks!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Srini,
      1. No.
      2. Yes, you can go to India and get stamping. If it is H1B extension, you need only one. Read it closely, it is a separate section.

  31. Sona

    I joined on H4-EAD with my current employer, I am working with them from last 1 year , now in 2021 H1-B lottery, my application got approved in change of status, Can I travel to India and get my stamping done now.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sona,
      Very likely no, unless you fall under exceptions. If it was same visa like H4, it would be fine. But, H1b is a different category.

  32. Waqas Malik

    Hi Kumar,
    I got my petition approved few days ago, I am a wireless network design engineer (cellular and public safety network designs), my question is if I apply and I think that i meet the criteria but the counselor rejects my visa saying its not urgent then what will happen? will this be same rejection procedure or they will just hold till end of this year

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Waqas,
      Well, if it was genuine, then should be fine. But, if it not fully clear and your employer is not supporting, then they will not issue visa. . You need to first request for the emergency appointment.

  33. Harsha Reddy

    And further to my below question:

    Since my Visa is valid till Dec 31st. Would I be able to switch job here and travel on the new I797 before December 31st?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Harsha,
      Well, this is slightly tricky. Technically you can, but in current situations not sure. Talk to an attorney and decide.

  34. Harsha Reddy

    Hi,

    I have a stamped H1B visa, valid till end of this year, but was not able to travel to the US and given internal company policies, I may not be able to travel by end of year. In this scenario, would I be able to get extension (new petition) from India, from same employer, position etc and get stamping done? In case of extension, will the LCA rules mentioned above apply, such as 15% over prevailing wage etc?

  35. Praneet

    Hi,
    I’m with the same employer from past 3 years. I traveled to India for my first h1 stamping last year and got H1b stamped for 1 year that was uptil 31stdec 2019. My company again applied for my extension and I got it approved for this year until 31st dec 2020. I came back to India for some emergency in March and I am stuck here since then. I got promotion and salary hike last year so in option 2 Instead of 2b I have 2c checked. Will I be exempt ? I have a masters degree with 3years experience

  36. Naveen

    Hello
    I Have valid visa till oct 6 2020 and extension approved.
    Can i travel to India.in Oct End and get my Visa stamped.
    1. Will drop box be available
    2.Can i book regular appoitment or else does it need to be an emergency appointment.

      1. Naveen

        Hi Kumar
        Thanks for reply
        Can we book an emergency appoitment for end of oct now ?
        Or else do I need to wait until I go to India and then book appoitment

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Naveen,
          Emergency Appointment are subject to restrictions, meaning you will be given it after approval for specific period of time. You cannot book EA now. You can ask them for EA, if eligible.

  37. Sai

    Kumar,

    I gave my biometrics for H4 extension on 8/7/20 and after that congressman followed up with uscis and got below response.

    “Your constituent’s cases are currently assigned to an officer for further examination. While we are unable to determine the date on which the adjudication process will be complete, you may follow-up with the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) if your constituent has not received a USCIS decision or other notice of action within approximately 14 days.”

    Do you think they can approve my H4 extension and H4 ead in next 14 days?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sai,
      Not necessarily. They can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days. But, follow the guidance given by the officers and reach out in 14 days. Do update here.

  38. Bob

    I had L1A valid until Jun 2018. However, I left US in Jan 2018. Am i eligible to re enter in 2020 using same VISA (same company). Or do I need to apply new L1A? If new, am i eligible currently with this new executive order?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Bob,
      If your visa is expired, you need to re-apply for new stamp in passport. You should check exceptions above, if you qualify.

  39. Durga

    Hi Kumar,

    currently my H1B visa is valid till dec 31(already have visa stamp on passport) , I am still working with same employer.
    most likely my employer will file for extension till next month . am I eligible to travel (before Dec 31)and go for a dropbox once the extension gets approved??

    appreciate your advise.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Durga,
      Yes, you can go. If it is extension and all is same, you should be able to. But, dropbox is not available yet. You should raise expedite or emergency appointment.

  40. Ash

    Hi Kumar
    In the month of Jan I am back to India, due to H1B denial, refilled with same employer in the month May and received approval in the month of June, is my case eligible for VISA stamping?

  41. Bhavana

    Hi Kumar,

    I was in USA till Dec10th 2019 on L1 visa and came back to India as I got H1B.

    My H1B visa stamped on Dec 24th 2019, and resigned to my company. There was a 3 month notice period I had to complete with my previous Organisation. By the time I have completed notice period COVID 19 lock down happened so I could not able to travel USA with my H1B visa.

    Since my employer has still requirement, I would like travel if I am eligible.

    My H1B visa is valid till Feb 26th, 2021.

    So Could you please let me know if I am eligible to travel in this or early next month?

    With president June 22nd and August 12th exception any impact for me to make a travel to USA?

    Appreciate your reply in advance!

      1. Bhavana

        Thank you Kumar!

        As my passport was expiring on March 20th 2021, my Employer suggested to renew it while I was India due to current COVID situation.

        I renewed my passport last month(July 2020) and it got extended till 2030.

        My question:

        My H1B visa is in Old passport and I got the new passport now in India. So I just wanted to know if there are any restrictions with any airlines to have the visa in new passport.

        Note: I have gone through USA embassy site and it is mentioned that we can travel even if we have valid visa in old passport. Also, Same has been confirmed with my employer.

        Could you please let me know if I am okay to travel with 2 passports (Having H1B Valid visa in old passport)?

        Appreciate your reply in advance!!

  42. NA

    Hi,

    On Dec 2019 my extension was denied, and then my company files Cap-exempt which got approved on feb 2020 and I had my interview on March 2020. Currently it’s under process admin.

    Am I exempt from proclamation, I work as senior consultant in big 4 since 2016.

    Please please reply

  43. mallikarjuna cheruvu

    Am working with same employer from 2015, filed H1b extension after 6 years and got approval till Jan 2021 but my form I 129 shows amended petition.am in same role and same company except my salary got hiked and could be the reasoned for amendedment?am I still exempted??

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      mallikarjuna,
      You should check with your employer. Usually, if you applied after 6 years, it will very likely be an amendment as the previous role description or other terms would have changed.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      4th timer,
      Still US consulate is not open for regular operations. If your previous visa application falls under exceptions, you can try.

    2. Justim

      Hi Kumar,

      My H1b COS, I-129 was approved a few days ago (September 4th), and I would like to visit my home country for visa stamping in December. Since I was in the US on F-1 OPT on June 22, am I qualified for one of the exceptions listed im EO? I really want to see my family as soon as possible, but I’m afraid of not being able to come back. Due to quarantine, I will probably have an interview in January. Thank you so much!

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Justim,
        This is not clear as your visa status was not the same. It is slightly grey area. Check with Consulate before you travel.

  44. SaiKrishna

    Hi Kumar,

    I don’t meet any of the criteria but I was in the US on June 24 with an approved 797, so I should be able to travel to India and get my visa stamped if the consulates open up right?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      SaiKrishna,
      You should be able to. But, I suggest you raise a request for expedite appointment or email them and confirm before you travel and plan it. The reason is, this is misinterpreted by few and there is some confusion.

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