Initially, there were rumors stating Trump will sign Executive Order to Ban H1B, J1, L1, H4 entry to US. Eventually, on June 22, 2020, Trump officially signed the Executive Order(EO) that bans the entry of H1B, H4, L1, L2, J1 and others until end of 2020, with very few exceptions. Later it was extended until March 31, 2021. Also, in early October, 2020, a court gave an order indicating that the travel ban is blocked for the plaintiffs, who were part of the Lawsuit.
In this article, we cover all the latest news updates related to the Trump Travel Ban for H1B, L1 and other visa holders. We have structured the article into sections for easy review.
Trump Extends Travel Ban for H1B, L1, Others until March 31, 2021
January 1st, 2021 : Below is the summary of the update on the Extension of Travel Ban by Trump Administration.
- Many news outlets reported that travel ban was extended yesterday, but WhiteHouse Official Press release was NOT available yesterday due to some issues and it is published today on their website.
- As per the official WhiteHouse.gov press release, the H1B, L1 Travel Ban continues to be in effect until March 31st, 2021. It extends the previous Travel Ban related Proclamations / Executive Orders issued in April and June 2020.
- All the previous clauses remain in effect as per the travel ban annoucement and there are no changes. They are just modifying a section that is related to date as per the annoucement. See below screenshot on the exact caluse that extends the date.
- Also, the previous guidance from US Dept of State on the Court Order also remains in effect and there would exceptions for anyone that were part of the lawsuit. Read below section on the same.
- Also, the Proclamation has a clause that tells that DHS and Dept of Labor need to review within 15 days and recommend any changes as needed. We need to wait and see, what really comes out.
- Check Official WhiteHouse.gov press release on the same.
You can watch the below YouTube Video that covers the above udpate.
US Dept of State Guidance on Court Order Blocking Trump EO
October 14th, 2020 : After US Dept of State guidance, US Embassy in India gave additional guidance telling that they are aware of the Court Order, but they cannot accommodate all the request due to COVID-19 situation and they request anyone with urgent need to submit Emergency US Visa Appointment Request . They say they may not approve EA for everyone. This has nothing to do with court order, but their capacity with the COVID situation. See below update on their website.
October 9, 2020 : Today US Dept of State gave additional guidance clarifying their generic guidance that they issued on Oct 2nd. Under the new clarification from today, you are exempt from the Proclamation or EO of H1B, L1, other visas travel ban, only if you are the plaintiff ( parties who put up the lawsuit) in the court case that was lost by Dept of State on Trump Travel Ban for H1B, L1, Others.
The named plaintiffs are :
- The National Association of Manufacturers
- The US Chamber of Commerce
- The National Retail Federation
- Intrax, Inc.
If your company is a member of the above organizations, then you can apply for H1B, L1 or J1 visa stamping at Consulate and travel to US.
As per the guidance, your company need to get a letter from one of these organization confirming the membership. You would need to submit the letter for emergency appointment and also a copy of the same at the US visa interview to US Consulate officer. Also, if the dependents like H4 and L2 would also be able to leverage this, if the principal spouse’s company is a member of one of these plaintiff organization.
If your company is not a member, the attorney’s who won the lawsuit are advising the companies to join one of these organizations and it costs about $250. So, if you are stuck, worth asking your employer to check on this and become a member of these plaintiff organizations.
Below is the actual screenshot of the same. You can check the Official State Dept Guidance
October 2, 2020 : As many of you know recently Judge Blocked Trump’s H1B Entry Ban. The tricky part with the court order is that, it applied to only plaintiffs ( parties who put up the lawsuit) in the court case. We all were waiting for guidance from US Department of State.
Today, US Department of State gave guidance on the same indicating that they are not going to apply Trump Travel Ban Proclamation ( Executive Order) for scheduling Emergency Appointments at Consulates. They say that each of the consulates and embassies in the respective countries will give further guidance. We need to further wait for specific details on how they will handle.
One thing to note is that, US Dept of State Guidance does not explicitly tell in the news alert that they will only give H1B, L1 visa emergency appointments to only parties, who were part of the Lawsuit.
So, we can assume that it will be applicable to everyone and there is no Restriction for Visa Stamping or Travel ban anymore for all H1B, L1 and other visa holders. One of the reason they may have made it general for everyone is that the orgainzations that were part of the lawsuit have many thousands of companies as members and it will be hard for DHS/ State Dept verify and give only to such parties.
Below is the exact guidance from them. You can read official alert at : US Dept of State News
Update : US State Dept Clarifies – H4, L2 Visa Stampings
August 12th, 2020 : Today USCIS announced many more changes and exceptions for H1B, L1 and other Visa holders. They have given exceptions for employees already working in US on Extensions, and given criteria to qualify for other. We have created a detail article on this. Check out. New Exceptions to get US Visa, Entry H1B, L1 – Aug 2020
Jul 17th, 2020 : Today US State Department updated their previous press release and gave more clarifications. Below are the updates for H1B, L1, H4, L2 visas.
- There were confusions in the past that said, if H1B or L1 holder was in US and their H1B or L1 visa has expired, then H4 or L2 may or may not go for stamping. Also, another confusion was, if the H1B or L1 holder had visa and in home country, can their spouse may or may not visa stamping. Today’s update clarifies both.
- As per new clarification, if you are H4 or L2 spouse, you can go for Visa stamping in two situations.
- As long as your spouse is in US (even with expired US, but with valid status like valid I-797, I-94)
- If they have valid H1B Visa in their passport ( they do not have to be in US). See below screenshot. from press release.
- They also clarified saying that H1B holders and L1 holders, who work on public health related areas or research on the same, they can get stamping and travel to US. Also, if H1B holder work for Govt agency’s IT support/services, they can get exceptions for stamping too. See below screenshot.
- See below screenshot from State Depart website. Check Official Press Release – State.Gov
July 16th, 2020 : US State Department issued a clarification today on the H4, L2 and J2 visas and others. Below are the details
- Dept of State will continue to issue Visas for H4, L2 and J2 visa holders, if they are not part of the Executive Order / Proclamation or if the principal Applicant is in the US. Which means, if H1B or L1 visa holder in US and their spouse is outside of US, then they will be issued visas. This clarification comes just couple of days after the Lawsuit was filed Challenging H1B, H4 entry Ban
- Also exceptions for H, J visa holder who support US interests like COVID response, or traveling as per US Govt.
- Lastly, if the applicants are subject to aging out of their current immigrant visa before their passport expires or within 2 weeks after it expires.
You may watch below YouTube Video that covers the same
Update : Clarification on Non-immigrant Visa Clause
June 29th, 2020 : Today, WhiteHouse gave an amendment to their Proclamation that Trump Signed to ban entry of H1B, H4 and others, clarifying that it applies only to visa holders such as H1B, H4, H2B, L and certain J visas that are part of the proclamation. Below is what it used to look before and after.
There have been confusions with some saying it is banned for F2, K1 and other visa and mis-information. In light of all confusions, to make it clear, they issued an amendment clarifying the same. It does not change any of the entry ban list of Visa types or categories that were part of the original proclamation. Still all the restrictions on Travel entry and Stampings apply. Read US Entry Ban, Visa Stamping – Official Guidance by USCIS, Consulates, State Dept.
You may watch below video as well on the update
Why Trump Executive Order to ban Entry of H1B, L1, other visas ?
The executive order states that US unemployment is at one of the highest levels of 13.3% and with the slow economic recovery, allowing entry of foreign workers and their spouses will create additional competition to US citizens to find a job.
Trump EO – Entry Ban for H1B, H4, L1, L2, J1, others.
As we discussed in our Fact Check on Executive Order Power of President, most of the things in the Executive order apply to people currently outside of United States and without a valid Visa. The non-immigrant visa holders impacted are H1B, H4, H2B, L1, L2, J1 and also Immigrant Visa holders entering US. Let’s look each of these categories in detail.
EO Impact for H1B Visa Holders
The Executive Order (EO) will impact all H1B Visa holders outside of US and who do not have valid H1B Visa stamping in their passport ( Sample US Visa Stamp ). It does not matter, if you are New H1B seeker, who filed in H1B 2021 Season or an someone who already had H1B and worked in US. If you do not have valid visa on your passport as of today June 22, 2020, you will not able to enter US until Dec 31, 2020.
It will NOT impact any H1B holder within US. They can continue to file H1B Transfers, Extensions or Amendments. It does not impact anyone picked in H1B registration lottery this year and filing H1B petition with USCIS for FY 2021 season, it is just that they cannot enter US until this travel ban is lifted. If you leave US and do not have valid US visa, then you cannot re-enter. This even applies to anyone in US trying to extend I-94 by exiting the country.
EO Impact for H4 Visa Holders.
Updated July 16th, 2020 : Based on clarification from US state Department
As per the executive order text, it says “any alien accompanying or following to join such alien”. So, it says H4 and Dependents as blanket. Initially, there were confusions created as the State Dept Twitter account and consulates started telling they cannot stamp any H4 Visa holder. It was clarified on July 16th press release.
The signed executive order only applies to certain H4 Visa holders, who are outside of US and do not have a valid H4 Visa stamp in their passport and if their spouse is not in the US. As per the new guidance on July 16th, H4 Visa holder, who have their spouse in the US on H1B can apply for H4 visa stamping at consulate and get stamping done. They can return to US using the stamping.
Also, it will NOT impact any H4 holder currently in the US with their spouse. It does not impact them from applying H4 EAD and working in the US, if they are eligible. H4 holders are free to apply for extensions or Change of status as needed, including EADs( if eligible).
You can join Telegram Group – H1B, H4, L1, Travel Ban Help to discuss and help each other as community.
EO Impact for L1A, L1B, L2 Visa Holders
The Trump executive order signed today impacts all L1A, L1B and certain L2 dependents (spouse and children), who are outside of US and do not have a valid US visa stamp in their passport. If you do not have the valid L1 or L2 visa stamp in your passport, you cannot enter US until Dec 31st, 2020.
Update July 16, 2020 : US state department clarified on July 16th, 2020 saying that L2 visa holders without a stamp in passport and if primary L1 visa holder in US, then they can apply for L2 stamping. Previously, it was told by them on Twitter that all L2s cannot get stamping, but this was clarified in press release.
It will not have any impact on the L1A, L1B or L2 visa holders, who are already in the US. They are free to file Extensions or Change of status as needed. If you are on L2 and have EAD, you can continue to work and extend your EAD and L2 as well.
EO Impact for H2B and Dependent H4 Holders
The executive order applies to H2B visa holders and their Dependent spouses and children on H4 visa, who are outside of US and do NOT have valid visa stamp to enter US. This will last until Dec 31, 2020. It will not apply to anyone on H2B, H4 visa status and already in US. They are free to work, continue to extend as eligible or file COS as applicable.
EO Impact for J1, J2 Visa Holders
The executive order bans entry of J1 visa holders who outside of US and do not have valid J1 visa stamp as of today and planning to participate as an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, Au Pair or Summer work travel program. It also includes their accompanying spouses and children of J1 visa holders. Also, it was clarified on July 16th by State Department that J2 visa holders are eligible to get stamping and fly to US, if their principal applicant on J1 is in US.
You may watch the below YouTube Video, it has the summary of entire article.
EO for new Immigrants / new GC holders
The Executive order extends the previous 60 days Executive order banning entry of Immigrant Visa (new GC) holders and it will be extended until end of the year, which is December 31st, 2020. All the exceptions for health care workers and others that are outlined in that previous order will continue to apply.
EO Ban Impact for F1 Visa, OPT, STEM OPT Holders
The executive order signed today does not have any impact on the F1 Student Visa holders. If you are an F1 student trying to enter US for Fall 2020, you are fine to enter US. If you are an OPT or STEM OPT holder in US, you can continue to work on OPT and STEM OPT, there is no impact. You can apply for OPT, CPT and STEM OPT as normal and this executive order does not have any impact on such visa holders. Also, if you are planning to apply for F1 visa to enter US for Fall 2020, you are free to apply as well, this does not impact you.
EO Ban Impact on TN, B1/B2, E3, O1, other Visas
The EO singed today does not have any impact on other visas like TN, B1/B2, E2, O1 or other visa types. You are free to apply for such visas or enter US on such visas. There are no restrictions as well to apply for petitions related to these visas with USCIS.
EO impact on Adjustment of Status, I-140, PERM
The executive order does not have any impact on the filing of any form or petition with USCIS like I-140 or Adjustment of Status using I-485. Also, you can go through PERM process as well, just that there will be more scrutiny with higher unemployment rate.
Those are the key parts of the executive order, see summary table below.
Summary of the Trump Executive order entry Ban in Table
Below table is updated as of October 14, 2020
|Visa Type||Location||US Visa Stamp, Status||Impact – Dec 31, 2020|
|H1B Visa||Outside US||No H1B Stamp||Cannot enter US|
Exception – part of Lawsuit tied to court order
|H1B Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H1B Stamp||No impact|
|H1B Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|H4 Visa||Outside US |
( H1B spouse outside US)
|No H4 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
Exception – part of Lawsuit tied to court order
(Jul 16 update)
|Outside US |
(H1B holder in US)
|No H4 Stamp||Can get H4 Stamping, enter US|
|H4 Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H4 Stamp||No impact|
|H4 Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|H4 EAD||Inside US||Valid EAD||No impact|
|L1, L2 Visa||Outside US||No L1, L2 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
Exception – part of Lawsuit tied to court order
|L1, L2 Visa||Outside US||Has Valid L1, L2 Stamp||No impact|
|L1, L2 Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|L2 EAD||Inside US||Valid EAD||No impact|
|H2B Visa||Outside US||No H2B Stamp||Cannot enter US|
Exception – part of Lawsuit tied to court order
|H2B Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H2B Stamp||No impact|
|H2B Visa||Inside US||Valid approval, I-94||No impact|
|F1, F2 Visa||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|OPT, STEM OPT||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|J1 Visa||Outside US||No J1 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
Exception – part of Lawsuit tied to court order
|J1 Visa||Outside US||Valid J1 Stamp||No impact|
|J1 Visa||Inside US||Valid status documents||No impact|
|B1, B2||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|TN,O1, E3||Anywhere||Does not matter||No Impact|
|Filing USCIS Forms, DOL Process||Impact|
|I-140, I-485 (AOS)||No Impact|
|I-129 (H1B or L1 Transfers, COS, Extensions )||No Impact|
|I-765 (EAD Applications)||No impact|
|All other forms with USCIS, Biometrics, Interviews||No impact|
Exceptions for Travel Entry Ban for Non-immigrants
Below categories of Individuals are exempted from the Travel ban
- Green Card Holders ( Lawful Permanent Residents )
- Spouse or child of US citizens
- Any foreigner seeking to enter US for temporary labor or services for US food supply chain.
- Anyone whose entry is of national interest as determined by Consulate or State Dept.
- It does not apply to asylum seekers or refugees and others who fall under similar circumstances.
In addition to the above executive order, president Trump also announced the below for further action by USCIS, Dept of Labor. Some of these have been there on their agenda, now they will push hard for these changes due to the economy.
Merit Based US Immigration System – H1B Program Changes
Update from Jul 11, 2020 : Trump indicated in press releases that he plans to sing a Merit Based Immigration Bill / Executive Order
In the past Trump announced high level info on Point Based US Immigration System that is Merit driven, but it never went anywhere. Now, today they announced that they will plan to move to a Merit-Based Immigration System. It will prioritize highest skilled workers and protect American jobs with below changes to H1B system
- Reform H1B Visa program
- Prioritize H1B workers with Highest wage to make sure highest skilled applicants are admitted
- Fix the loopholes in the immigration and work visa programs to replace American workers
The changes to the program are not part of the Executive Order, it will be carried out by the respective agency such as USCIS and Department of Labor for the respective Changes. We need to wait and see, how it will impact. These are already part of Trump’s Unified Agenda from Fall 2019.
Latest News Updates on Trump Travel Ban for H1B, H4
- Jul 15th, 2020 : Trump announces his plans for merit based immigration bill / executive order twice. Check out all details at Trump Merit based Immigration Plans 2020
- Jul 14th, 2020 : A lawsuit was filed against Trump Administration challenging the abuse of power by Trump to ban H1B and H4 Visa holders. Check full details at : 174 Indian Nationals file Lawsuit for H1B Entry Ban
It was applicable for Dropbox in the beginning. Later in the year, they relaxed some rules and now allow H1B, H4 and other visa renewals and extended the dropbox to 24 months for eligibility.
We do know at this point. New Biden Administration will take office in late January, it may or may not extend. Based the election campaing, he said that he would end it.
There were couple of regulations that were done by Trump administration published as interim final rule. Later, they were taken to court and cancelled by Court.
It will be effective from 12:01 EST, June 24th, 2020. The previous executive order for immigrants visas will continue to be in effect as before.
Yes, there is nothing that is stopping you from applying for H4 EAD as per the Executive Order. We have H4 EAD lawsuit going on at the moment and we are waiting for court and OMB.
Yes, you can use your previous employer stamping to enter, as long as it is valid on the day of your entry. Check do I need new H1B stamp after transfer ?
It is a huge blow to many stuck in their home countries with pending stamping and many with dreams to work in US from Oct 2020.
What do you think of the Executive Order ? Share your thoughts in comments ?