Earlier this week, the president wrote a cryptic tweet that threw the immigration community into confusion.  The tweet indicated that the government would temporarily suspend legal immigration into the United States, but did not explain how or who it would effect.  Now we have our answer: the President’s new Executive Order impacts only a limited group of immigrants whose applications were already effectively suspended by U.S. consulate closures around the world. Though, there are hints that more restrictions might follow.

The Executive Order is effective starting April 23, 2020 and lasts for an initial 60 days. For now, the order suspends the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as a new U.S. permanent resident who:

  • Is outside the United States on April 24, 2020;
  • Does not already have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document, such as an Advance Parole travel document.

The Executive Order exempts several categories of immigrants from the suspension, including current Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders), spouses and children of U.S. citizens, healthcare workers and their families, EB-5 investors, and other individuals entering the U.S. for law enforcement, armed forces, government, or national interest purposes.

What does all of this mean for our clients? Most immigrants are not affected by the order in its current state. Importantly, the order does not apply to:

  • Individuals with temporary immigration status (e.g. H-1B, L-1, TN, etc.)
  • F-1 students
  • B-1/B-2 or ESTA visitors
  • Current green card holders
  • Any application submitted to USCIS in the United States (Adjustment of Status, Change of Status, DACA, etc.)
  • Labor Certifications (PERM)
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens applying for immigrant visas abroad
  • Asylees and Refugees

Within the next 30 days there may be additional restrictions targeting individuals with temporary immigration status.   We will continue to monitor immigration developments and alert our clients of updates that impact them. In the meantime, help us help you! For those clients that have received emails from our office requesting documents or information, please respond to us as soon as possible.  We’ll be doing our best to finalize and submit immigration applications quickly, to take advantage of any filing windows or grace periods.