Earlier this summer we wrote about the executive order that prevented some individuals with temporary employment authorization from receiving visas to enter the U.S.  Since then, the Department of State has provided more options for individuals outside the United States to enter or re-enter the U.S., despite the executive order.

As a reminder, this executive order focuses on temporary workers seeking to enter the U.S. from abroad. It does not affect the many people who were in the United States on June 24, 2020, or those who had a valid visa or another official travel document effective on June 24, 2020.  The executive order applies to H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 workers and their dependents, and is scheduled to expire at the end of this year.

To help these immigrants, we provide responses to the following Frequently Asked Questions about exceptions to the executive order.

Does the executive order apply to other visa categories, like F-1, TN, H-1B1, O-1, or B-1?

No.  For the full list of categories that are not impacted, see our prior blog.

Are there any exceptions for H, L, and J travelers and their dependents?

Yes! The proclamation includes exceptions for individuals whose travel would be in the U.S. national interest.

Who qualifies for the National Interest Exception?

Many temporary workers can benefit from the national interest exception.  For example:

  • H-1B workers who are entering the U.S. to resume ongoing employment with their H-1B employers
  • Executives, managers, and specialists with unique qualifications who are entering the U.S. to work in important positions for U.S. companies
  • Temporary workers with specialized qualifications who will help their employers meet a critical infrastructure need, such as communications, financial services, food and agriculture, information technology, or transportation
  • Healthcare professionals entering the U.S. to help with the COVID-19 pandemic or to conduct important medical research
  • Domestic workers who care for children with special needs
  • Interns and trainees participating in government-sponsored programs

Am I eligible for an exception?

Many individuals will have facts that support eligibility for an exception.  If the proclamation applies to you and you seek to enter the United States for temporary work, study, or internship purposes, contact your immigration attorney for an analysis of your case.