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Immigrant Visa Travel Ban Revoked by Biden [Feb 2021]

The Immigrant Visa Ban is not in effect anymore as Biden signed a Proclamation ending the same on Feb 24th 2021. Below are the details

Feb 24th, 2021 : Biden signed a Proclamation on Feb 24th, 2021 revoking certain parts of the H1B Travel Ban Executive Order 10132 that are related to Immigrant Visa issuance and entry of the same. The signed proclamation does NOT lift the H1B, L1, and Others Travel Ban that is still in effect until March 31, 2021. Read all details at : Biden Lifts Immigrant Visa Travel Ban

President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) as shared by him previously, including the tweet that created confusion on suspending US Immigration. Most of the executive order is in-line with previous announcement on twitter, press release, with one addition to review non-immigrant visa programs. We will look at the entire Executive Order, why it is signed, summarize the key points, and look at impact for everyone, like current H1Bs, Adjustment of Status Applicants, H4, F1, etc.

Why Trump Signed Executive Order to Stop New Immigrants ?

US Unemployment Claims filed in April 2020 - 22 million Highest

The Executive Order (EO) talks about the impact of COVID-19 and how it has impacted American Labor market.  The EO says that new green card holders/ immigrants once admitted have no restrictions for job market and will compete with everyone who have lost jobs with the pandemic. So far, 22 million Americans have lost jobs and unemployment rate is at historic levels. Check the adjacent chart by Washington Post on Unemployment that shows you the real impact of the unemployment with historic data.  The EO says, new immigrants (GC holders) will increase the labor supply and can impact some disadvantaged groups like African Americans and other minorities without a degree. Considering all these, to protect American workers jobs and labor market, President has taken a decision with his power to pause new green card holders to enter US for 60 days.

Executive Order Impacted Individuals – New Green Card Holders

The EO clarifies that the impacted individuals are primarily all new immigrants or new Green Card Holders, who are outside of United States and planning to arrive in US on an Immigrant Visa ( basically new Green Card related visa). It says that it applies to anyone who do NOT have an immigrant visa( green card related) that is valid on the date of the signing of the Executive order…meaning, if you already have immigrant visa issued in past, it may not apply to you ( check with US Embassy for this to be sure). It also applies to any other green card holders, who do not have properly authorized travel document like advance parole, transportation letter, etc.  These new green card holders cannot enter US for 60 days starting from April 23, 2020 11:59 PM.

You may watch the below video that covers the entire summary of this article.

Executive Order NOT Impacted Individuals – GCs in US, H1Bs, H4, L, F, etc.  

The executive order clearly states the list of individuals, whom it will not have any impact. Below is the complete list of such individuals that are not impacted by the Trump Executive Order to pause new green card holders entry.

  • Existing Green Card Holders in US (aka Lawful Permanent Residents)
  • Any Physician, Nurse or healthcare workers trying to enter New GC / immigrant visa
  • All EB-5 immigrant investor program Green Card Holders
  • Anyone, who is spouse of US Citizen
  • Anyone who is under 21 and child of US Citizen or applying for IR-4, IH-4 visas
  • Members of US Armed Forces, their spouses and children
  • Anyone who has attorney general recommendation based on US interests
  • Special immigrant visa holders with SI or SQ, subject to State Dept conditions.
  • Anyone whom they think are of US national interest

The above list is the exact list of exceptions as listed in the proclamation. As US has many non-immigrant Visas types, it will be hard to list every other visa in proclamation individually. Though they have not explicitly listed other visa types or forms, it is assumed that the below visa types and individuals will not fall under the Executive Order as they are not listed under the included section. See below table for complete summary.  

US Visa / Application Executive Order Impact – Suspension Applicable or NOT Applicable
Below forms, visas were NOT explicitly listed in Trump Executive order, but assumed that these are excluded as they are not listed under applicable section of Executive order.  
H1B Visa Holder inside USNot Applicable. Can work, apply for extensions, transfers, COS, respond to RFEs
H1B Visa Cap Applicant FY 2021Not Applicable. Can apply for H1B cap subject petition.
H1B Visa applicant outside USNot Applicable.  Can Apply for US Visa stamping.
H4 Visa, H4 EAD holders in USNo applicable, can apply for extensions, COS
F1, OPT, STEM OPT holders in USNot applicable, can apply for extensions, COS, OPT, STEM OPT
B1/B2 holders in USNot applicable, can apply for extensions, COS.
L1A, L1B, L2, L2 EADNot Applicable. Can work, apply for extensions, COS.
USCIS forms like I-140, I-485 AOS, I-130, other forms. Responding to RFEs.Not applicable. Can apply for them with USCIS, respond to RFEs. The EO explicitly tells immigrant visa holders outside of US and does not really say Adjustment of Status Applicants applying for Green Card within US
PERM Labor Certification DOLNot applicable. Can continue PERM process.
Non-immigrant Visas seeking individuals at US Consulates outside of US for H1B, H4, L1, L2, B1, B2, F1, F2, etc.Not applicable. Can apply for US visa stamping, if the consulate is taking appointments. Most of them are closed for visa stampings.

Review of Non-immigrant Visa Programs by DOL, DHS/USCIS – Impact?

The executive order has a key point that instructs US Department of Labor and DHS/USCIS to review all nonimmigrant visa programs within 30 days from the EO signed day and recommend measures to stimulate US economy and hiring US Workers. see below screenshot.

Additional Measures for Nonimmigrants from Trump Executive Order

 It is too early to speculate, but this may have an impact on the work visa programs such as H1B, H4 EAD, L1, L2, etc.  If the US Dept of Labor and USCIS recommends certain things like not issuing new H1B visas for anyone outside of US, it is a possibility to pause or suspend. President has the authority to restrict new temporary work visa holders to enter US. It is too early to speculate, but this is something that every non-immigrant needs to be aware and plan for backups as things may change in next 30 days.

If you are on H1B, H4, L2, F1 or any other Non-immigrants, Plan for backups.

In light of the “review non-immigrant programs” hint given in the proclamation, it is important for all non-immigrants inside US on H1B, L1, H4, L2, F1, B1/B2, etc. or anyone planning to arrive to US on these visas to think of all possible scenarios, talk to your employers, attorneys and plan for backups.  If you are planning to travel outside of US now, reconsider your plans, talk to your employer or attorney.

President has the power to issue an EO to pause entering of Non-immigrants under regulation 8 USC 1182, if they think it is of national interest. So, it is a possibility.  Not sure, how much impact anything would have for anyone living on a non-immigrant visa in US…

Not trying to create panic for everyone, but trying to be practical and let everyone be proactive. You may consider doing some of the below things depending on your situation.

  • Apply for US Visa stamping, if available and get stamping done, arrive in US soon.
  • If your status is expiring, apply for extensions or COS soon.
  • If your work permits are expiring, apply for extensions soon.
  • If you have lost job, talk to an attorney and plan on what to do.
  • If your job is at risk, think of options to stay or leave.
  • If you are eligible for filing Adjustment of Status(AOS), apply soon.
  • Worst case, if you have to leave US, think of what do with your things, house, etc.
  • Talk to your attorney and employer on your immigration situation and plan.

Many of the non-immigrants, who left US, are already stuck in home country as US Consulates are closed with COVID-19.  Also, new non-immigrant visa seeking applicants also cannot do anything with consulates closed. These are unprecedented times, no one knows what can happen tomorrow. All we can do is be proactive and accept the reality.   Stay positive and hope we all get over this pandemic soon…

What do you think of the Executive Order pausing New Green Card Holders ?

Reference : White House Proclamation Suspending Immigrants


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  1. Hi Kumar,

    As it’s been a month after the H1B 2021 lottery results are announced, do we know how many petitions are filed by the employers so far?. There are few views like there will be more dropouts, duplicates, voids in the selected petitions considering the economy situation. Is there any chance for second round of lottery by June 30th?.


    • H1B Unselected,
      No, USCIS does not release such data.
      It is hard to say on the second run, we need to wait and see, how it pans out…It all depends on how many filed before June 30th.

  2. Hi Kumar,

    I want to share my success story, maybe someone can relate.
    I am a 19y/o daughter of a resident (Type of visa F2).
    The executive order was issued on April 22, and my Visa was approved on April 23; I was unsure if I was going to be able to be admitted into the US. On May 1st, I took a Humanitarian flight from my country to the US, and I was reunited with my family with no issue at all.

  3. In an interview with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf suggests that Trump’s next immigration order could include changes to optional practical training. Looks like the worst is going to happen very soon….

  4. Hello Kumar
    I already did my interview (1 year ago) at Paris consulate. My process already went under AP and I’m just waiting the officer to issue my visa pack. My process is an Eb-2 NIW. Do you think I’m exempted for being NIW? Should I push them? (I’m a dentist).

    • Bruna,
      Did you go for immigrant visa interview ? What was the visa type ? It applies to anyone applying for immigrant visa, including EB-2.

  5. The theme seems to be to invoke INA 212(f) to stop entry of certain classes of immigrants/non-immigrants from entering the US. Do you think adjustment of status/change of status (such as F1 to H1B or F1 OPT to F1 STEM OPT) can be stopped through a presidential proclamation? INA 212(f) does not seem to apply to those already in the country. Is there something else that can be invoked, or it is likely that any new restrictions would only apply to those outside the US?

    • RG,
      Usually, if you are inside US, president powers are limited and cannot do much and there will be a ton on lawsuits…it is usually for stopping entry to US.

  6. Mr kumar
    tnx for everything finally am in us today, & sugation for every one
    If olready any imegerant staped visa u can arriving in us,

  7. Hi Kumar,
    I was given 221g green silp on 14/Jan in Rio Embassy, Brazil. and also the officer take my passport. Till now the satus is refused under AP.
    My question is that are they working on AP’s or every thing is stopped ?because I saw some comments in your page some cases are change to AP from refused, some are changed To Issued and some are changed ro ready.


    • Sayed,
      It all varies by the consulate. The only way you would know is, if you can check with US consulate in your country. Try to reach out to them using email or phone and check.

  8. Hello Kumar, Thanks for the detailed information. I am awaiting H1B petition receipt notice. Please does this affect those of us waiting for the H1B petition receipt?

    • Pradeep,
      Well, that’s the general rule from flow from one category to other, if unused. We still need to see how it will work until end of the fiscal year of USCIS.

  9. Hi Kumar!
    I’m confused I want your help.
    My question is if i had an valid immigrant visa on the date of the proclamation can i enter the US?No matter what is the visa type because i read the proclamation and it is mentioned that this EO didn’t effect if u have a valid immigrant visa

    • Ali,
      That’s what the proclamation says, you are right…But, frankly I am not sure, the first clause says, if you are outside of US…Call or email CBP/ US Embassy before you plan your travel.

  10. My wife is waiting to apply h4b visa application, once Embassy open after lockdown.
    What are chances her application get approved after this executive order ?

  11. Hi All,
    As Kumar and team are trying their best in educating folks, would like say it again that, the ban is temporary and affects only immigrants visas where the person is outside USA.
    Yet again, as per the recent news (WashingtnPost), this order can be prolonged and also non-immigrant could be added to the list (case on case basis). Not to scare you but please be prepared for the other options and backups.

  12. Kumar,

    Is the non-immigration K1 visas exempt from this 60 days temporary delay? We have the approved visa in passport and documents.

    I have been trying to find an answer to this question, but nothing has been posted about fiancé visas. Plus, the consulates/ us embassy are closed at the moment.

    The airlines had already canceled our flight due to restricted international flights, for May 4th.

    Thank you,


    • Hey Sean, I don’t see any issue with a non-immigrant visa like K1, should be good to travel once airlines are open. It shouldn’t affect spouse’s of a US citizen.

    • Sean Browning,
      If you already have the visa, it may or may not, that’s based on the EO text…The text says “(ii) do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation;”
      I would suggest you double check with CBP or US Embassy before you plan anything.

  13. Hi Kumar,
    If i apply for a Visa based on an approved I-140, will that be treated as Immigrant Visa and hence they will be inscope of suspension until the EO is effective?

    • Bayyapu,
      If you are outside of US and planning to apply for immigrant visa, then yes, it is in scope. It is already effective.

  14. Last year (2019), my visa extension was approved till Jul 2022 by USCIS. I came to India in Dec 2019 to visit family. I had to get visa stamping and got 221(g). Visa services were suspended in March, so I am waiting for the them to resume. Do you think people like me are at risk as part of the 30-day review they are doing for non immigrant visas?

    • Priyanka,
      It is not just about you, it could be people, who are outside of US…again, this is just guess and we all are speculating here…

  15. I am currently in the US on H1b and my employer was planning to apply for I-140 within the next 60 days.
    The article didn’t clarify about those who are already IN the US and was planning to apply within the next 60 days. Can we (in the US) still apply for new I-140 (not RFE response) and expect to be processed?
    The article wasn’t clear when it writes:
    “USCIS forms like I-140, I-485 AOS, I-130, other forms. Responding to RFEs.
    Not applicable. Can apply for them with USCIS, respond to RFEs. ”
    Do you mean “as a response to RFEs” or “as well as responding to RFEs”?

    And how about those who already applied and waiting to hear from USCIS? Would they be denied?

    • Joe,
      We cannot say how it will be in 60 days. As of now, with the current executive order, you can apply for I-140, if you are in US.What we meant was, you can apply for I-140 and also respond to any RFEs tied to them.
      Nothing changes with USCIS processing with the EO, so do not worry.

  16. Hi
    I’m in India for vacation could not travel due to COVID 19 lockdown I have valid H1b petition and stamping till Oct 11, 2020, and I have applied i140 while I was in the USA but my i140 petition got approved while I was in India I’m I allowed traveling to the USA under current executive order on immigration?
    As you know I-140 is an Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.

    • srinivas,
      You can travel on H1B visa. Not on the immigrant visa though. Just having that approval does not mean much until you have immigrant visa to enter US.

  17. Hi Kumar,

    I am under 21, but daughter of a resident, not a citizen. Do you know if I am one of those exceptions? Or will I be denied the entry in case I get my visa in these upcoming days?

  18. Hi,
    I came for vacation in india and stuck in India due to airlines stopped operating due to corona. I do have valid visa and my green card process is not started, am I allowed to entered US once airlines starts operating because of this signed executive order?

      • Hi
        I came to india on march 13 for 2 weeks vacation, could not travel back to USA because of airports closer.
        I have a valid hqb visa till 2022, i am currently working USA at a client location.
        Can i travel back to USA once airports are open ?

    • Curious,
      It is a risky move as there is no premium processing, you would be flying blind until approval. You can ask them to apply, but change after approval of H1B by new employer only.

      • Hey mr kumar am caming again
        Iv catagory FX2
        (FX2Child (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident)
        Stamp visa,
        Trump Signed Executive Order 
        They can to travel or not
        If any advice ples

          • Robel,
            Check their website, there should be a facebook page for them, post there. Try all channels. Check their website or ustraveldocs site. There is National Visa Center helpline too, you can use that too : https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center.html

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