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The effect of COVID-19 is still being felt around the world and in the United States. Immigration has been affected in many ways, and recently, on June 22, 2020, the President signed Presidential Proclamation (P.P.) 10052, an extension of P.P. 10014, which serves to suspend entry into the United States through December 31, 2020, for certain immigrant visa applicants. The suspension includes certain applicants for the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, J-1 who are participating in the intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs as well as spouses or children of covered applicants applying for H-4, L-2, or J-2 visas. This Presidential Proclamation also affects certain foreign nationals who may present a risk if granted entry into the United States during the recovery phase of COVID-19. After the passing of P.P. 10052, the Department of State (DOS) announced a short list of exceptions. 

P.P. 10052 Exceptions

The following information is sourced directly from the U.S. Department of State website

H-1B Visas

  • For travel as a public health or healthcare professional, or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or communicable disease research). This includes those traveling to alleviate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that may be a secondary effect of the pandemic (e.g., travel by a public health or healthcare professional, or researcher in an area of public health or healthcare that is not directly related to COVID-19, but which has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Travel supported by a request from a U.S. government agency or entity to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations. This would include individuals, identified by the Department of Defense or another U.S. government agency, performing research, providing IT support/services, or engaging other similar projects essential to a U.S. government agency.

H-2B Visas

  • Travel based on a request from a U.S. government agency or entity to meet critical foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations. An example of this would be supporting U.S. military base construction (e.g. associated with the National Defense Authorization Act) or IT infrastructure.

J-1 Visas

  • Travel to provide care for a minor U.S. citizen, LPR, or nonimmigrant in lawful status by an au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language). Childcare services provided for a child with medical issues diagnosed by a qualified medical professional by an individual who possesses skills to care for such child will be considered to be in the national interest.
  • Travel by an au pair that prevents a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant in lawful status from becoming a public health charge or ward of the state of a medical or other public funded institution.
  • Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.
  • An exchange program conducted pursuant to an MOU, Statement of Intent, or other valid agreement or arrangement between a foreign government and any federal, state, or local government entity in the United States that is designed to promote U.S. national interests if the agreement or arrangement with the foreign government was in effect prior to the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation.
  • Interns and Trainees on U.S. government agency-sponsored programs (those with a program number beginning with “G-3” on Form DS-2019): An exchange visitor participating in an exchange visitor program in which he or she will be hosted by a U.S. government agency and the program supports the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
  • Specialized Teachers in Accredited Educational Institutions with a program number beginning with “G-5” on Form DS-2019: An exchange visitor participating in an exchange program in which he or she will teach full-time, including a substantial portion that is in person, in a publicly or privately operated primary or secondary accredited educational institution where the applicant demonstrates ability to make a specialized contribution to the education of students in the United States. A “specialized teacher” applicant must demonstrate native or near-native foreign language proficiency and the ability to teach his/her assigned subject(s) in that language.
  • Critical foreign policy objectives: This only includes programs where an exchange visitor participating in an exchange program that fulfills critical and time sensitive foreign policy objectives.

L-1 Visas

  • Travel as a public health or healthcare professional, or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit. This includes those traveling to alleviate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that may be a secondary effect of the pandemic.

H-4, L-2, and J-2 Visas Exceptions

  • National interest exceptions are available for those who will accompany or follow to join a principal applicant who is a spouse or parent and who is not subject to P.P. 10052 (including those that have been granted a national interest exception). This exception can be extended to derivative applicants when the principal is currently in the United States or has a valid visa.

P.P. 10014 Exceptions 

  • Applicants who are subject to aging out of their current immigrant visa classification before P.P. 10014 expires or within two weeks thereafter.

Travelers who believe their travel falls into one of these categories or is otherwise in the national interest may request a visa application appointment at the closest Embassy or Consulate and a decision will be made at the time of interview as to whether the traveler has established that they are eligible for a visa pursuant to an exception. Travelers are encouraged to refer to the Embassy/Consulate website for detailed instructions on what services are currently available and how to request an appointment.

The Department of State will continue to issue H-4, L-2, and J-2 visas to otherwise qualified derivative applicants who qualify for a national interest exception, such as those seeking to join a principal applicant currently in the United States.

Immigrant visa applicants covered by Presidential Proclamation 10014, as extended by P.P. 10052, including Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants, who have not been issued an immigrant visa as of April 23 are subject to the proclamation’s restrictions unless they can establish that they are eligible for an exception. No valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation.

Do You Need An Immigration Lawyer?

If you are concerned about Presidential Proclamation 10052 and how it affects you are a loved one’s immigration or visa status, contact Novo Legal today to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. We understand that these are challenging times, and we are here to help.