As many of you know the rumors of Trump to ban US entry for work visa holders have become true as President Trump signed Executive Order to ban entry of H1B, L, J visa and their dependents. The executive order gave high level guidance but did not go into details like if US visa stampings are allowed, when will consulates allow stampings, USCIS processing of applications, what is CBP stance, etc. In this article, we will look at all these updates from US Consulates, US Department of State, USCIS and CBP. We will continue to update this page as we have new updates.
We divided the article into sections related to key area of concern like US Visa Stampings, US Entry restrictions, USCIS processing, etc. and provided Official updates by US Govt entities like US consulates, Embassies, CBP, US Dept of State and USCIS in that section. Let’s start with US Visa stampings.
No H1B, L, J Visa Stampings at US Consulates before Dec 31, 2020
July 16th, 2020 : US State Department issued a clarification today on the H4, L2 and J2 visas and others. Below are the details
- US 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
- See below screenshot from State Depart website. Check Official Press Release – State.Gov
June 25th, 2020 : One of our WhatsApp Group’s reader reached out to US Consulate in Hyderabad asking the same question ( Thanks to them for sharing !). They responded stating that US Visas will not be issued at consulates until Dec 31st, 2020 for the visa types that were part of the Executive order. The email from consulates states “H1B, H2B, L and certain J nonimmigrant visas, and their derivative visa categories”. The derivative visa categories mean H4, L2 and J2 visas. So, it is pretty clear that all the dependent visa holders will not be able to get visa stampings at US consulates until end of this year. See below screenshot.
Also, US State Department Confirmed the same as well. They will not process any of the H1B, H4, H2B, L1, L2 or J visas that are part of the US entry ban until end of the year which is Dec 31, 2020. See below tweet.
@Niraj745 We will not be issuing H-1B, H-2B, L, certain J visas, and their derivatives through December 31, 2020, unless an exception applies.— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 25, 2020
US Embassy in India also updated their website with a News Alert that says they will NOT issue H1B, H4, L, and other Visas. Also, it clarifies that H4 Visa maybe issued for H4 Dependents, who are tied to H2A and H3 visa holders. See below and check Official US Embassy News
US Visa Stampings for H1B, H4, L1, J at Consulates
US Department of State published FAQs on Twitter, where they responded to users questions and clarified many questions related to the recent Executive Order(EO) related to H1B, H4, L, J visa entry ban to US. We have picked up relevant responses by Visa Category and specific question for easy review and clarification to our readers. Check below.
You may watch the below YouTube Video, that covers all details in article
H4 Visa Stamping – US Dept of State Guidance
Updated July 16th, 2020 : Based on clarification from US state Department
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.
Below is the original guidance given by US State Depart on June 24th.
@BIJUDANIELS Hi Biju – That is correct. We will not be issuing H-1B, H-2B, L, or certain J visas, and their derivatives through December 31, 2020, unless an exception applies.— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 24, 2020
The below tweet and guidance is no longer valid as there is an updated press release from July 16th, 2020.
@___________Lodi Per Section 3 of the Presidential Proclamation, suspension of entry applies to “any alien who does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date (June 24) of this Proclamation.” See the link for exceptions: https://t.co/9u7lfV3smx— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 24, 2020
L2 Visa Stamping – US Dept of State Guidance
Updated July 16th, 2020 : The same guidance of H4 dependent applies to L2 dependents as well. As per US Department of State, if L2 visa holder, who does not have L2 visa stamping done before the effective date of the executive order (11:59 p.m. EST on April 23, 2020) , they will not be able to get stamping at US consulate until the end of the year.
The exception to L2 visa stamping and entry to US is that, if the L1 visa principal applicant or spouse is in US, then they can get stamping and come back to US.
The below tweet is not valid as per the July 16th guidance
@sadanand_bhat @USAndChennai Hi Sadanand – We will not be issuing H-1B, H-2B, L, or certain J visas, and their derivatives through December 31, 2020, unless an exception applies. We do not have a tentative date for the resumption of routine visa services at this time.— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 24, 2020
H1B Visa Stamping – US Dept of State Guidance
US Dept of State gave the same guidance for H1B Visa holders as well, who have valid H1B approval notice and arrived to their home country for stamping and got stuck. They cannot get stamping done to enter US. See below tweet.
@SirVirat @USAndIndia Hi Virat – Per Section 3 of the Proclamation, the suspension of entry applies to those who do not have a valid visa by June 24, 2020. This includes applicants with approved petitions awaiting an interview. See the link for exceptions: https://t.co/9u7lfV3smx— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 24, 2020
L1 Visa Stamping – US Dept of State Guidance
Similar to other visa types, US Dept of State says that L1 Visa Stamping is not possible at US consulates, including their spouses and children until Dec 31, 2020.
@amit_25980 We will not be issuing H-1B, H-2B, L, or certain J visas, and their derivatives through December 31, 2020, unless an exception applies. See the link for exceptions: https://t.co/9u7lfV3smx— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 25, 2020
H1B, H4 Visa Valid during EO. Renew after Expiry ?
US Dept of State says that, if you have valid H1B, H4 or other relevant visa, you can enter US using that. But, if it expires, then you cannot apply for US visa renewal at US Consulates. The Executive Order will apply for such visa holders trying to renew. Below is the response to situation of H4 visa holder who is in India. See below.
@PreetiD59546359 Hello, individuals with valid visas as of June 24 are not subject to the Proclamation. However, individuals whose visa expire and apply for a renewal will be subject to the proclamation.— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 25, 2020
Pending US Visa Stampings – 221g or Biometrics Completed
In the case of pending US visa stampings, with either administrative processing like 221g or even if Biometrics completed on the day of Executive order, the US consulates will not process those visa applications or give them visa interview slots for stamping. See below clarification on twitter by US Dept of state.
@ddevyani10 @USAndIndia Hi Devyani – Per Section 3 of the Presidential Proclamation, suspension of entry applies to “any alien who does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this Proclamation.” See the link for exceptions: https://t.co/9u7lfV3smx— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 25, 2020
@Jbyadav56685251 @USAndChennai Hello – Per Section 3 of the Proclamation, suspension of entry applies to those who do not have a valid visa by June 24, 2020. This includes applicants with approved petitions awaiting an interview. See link for exceptions: https://t.co/9u7lfV3smx— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 24, 2020
USCIS Clarification for H1B, other visa holders inside US
USCIS issued an official alert indicating that the Executive Order banning entry of H1B or other visas does not impact similar visa holders already in the US and working on H1B status or similar visa status. Also, they say that the Executive order will not impact anyone who have valid H1B, H4, L or J visas from entering US, there is no revocation of valid US Visas by the executive order. All such visa holders, who have valid US Visa stamp, can enter US, unless they are banned for other reasons like fraud, misrepresentation, etc.
Check USCIS Official Alert as in See below screenshot. Also, as USCIS have not indicated any other restrictions, it is implied that they will continue to process all H1B, H4, L1, L2, J1 extensions, amendments and transfer applications filed with USCIS as before. They would also continue to process all types of applications like I-485 (Adjustment of Status), I-140 ( Green Card ), EAD applications, etc. Also, President does not have power to stop USCIS from processing these kinds of applications. Check Fact Check of President Power for Executive Order
Automatic Visa Revalidation with Travel Ban
In general, for certain categories of visas like H1B and others, you could use Automatic Visa Revalidation(AVR) Option to exit and re-enter US with an expired visa, if you have valid I-94 and approval notice to neighbouring countries. This is applicable only to Canada and Mexico and if the travel is less than 30 days. Now, with the travel ban, this is not fully clear as there is no official guidance given by CBP or US Dept of State, which is available to public on their website or twitter.
The closest guidance we have is a tweet from attorney Greg Siskind stating that CBP officer from Canada confirmed to AILA that Automatic Visa revalidation can still be used to exit and re-enter US. We do NOT have official guidance from CBP publicly available. So, double check with CBP before you plan any travel using AVR. It is very risky, you should avoid travel using this option, unless a real emergency. If you want to extend I-94, you try with CBP Office, some of our users had success with that option.
“Automatic visa revalidation is not affected by the Proclamation.”— (((Greg Siskind))) (@gsiskind) June 24, 2020
What has been your experience with the Travel ban ? Did you enter US recently ? Did you write to Consulate ? Share your thoughts in comments below.