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, H4, L, J Visa Stampings at US Consulates before Dec 31, 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
There were some speculations by few stating that some visa holders like H4 would be able to get stamping at consulates, if their spouse was residing in US during the EO date. We indicated previously that H4 visas will not be issued at consulates. US Department of State confirmed our statement, saying that they will not allow any stamping for H4 visa holders. Below the tweet from their official account. It clearly states H4 visa stampings cannot be done, even if one of them is in US. It also does not matter, if the kids are US citizens, still the H4 holder cannot get US visa stamping.
@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
@___________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
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. It does not matter, if L1 holder is in US and L2 holder is stuck in Home country. See below response on Twitter.
@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.