Executive Order to Freeze H-1B, J-1, L-1, H-2B Visa Entry

On June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entries of certain work visa holders. The summary of the executive order is as follows:

Who is affected under this June 22 Executive Order? 

  • The executive order applies to the foreign nationals who are:
    • Currently outside of the United States 
    • Without a valid visa stamp on the passport and 
    • Seek to enter the United States in H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1 or L-2 status.
  • The order also applies to those who seek admission in J visa status, participating in intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any their J-2 dependents.

Who is NOT affected by the Executive Order?

  • The executive order does NOT apply to anyone who is in the United States as of the effective date of the order, which is 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020.
  • The order does NOT apply to anyone who has a valid nonimmigrant visa as of the effective date.
  • The order does NOT apply to anyone who has “…an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.”
  • The order does NOT apply to “…any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain.”
  • The order does NOT apply to “…any alien whose entry would be in the national interest….”

How long does this Executive Order last?

This executive order is effective on June 24, 2020 and is scheduled to remain in place through “December 31, 2020, and may be extended beyond that date. Within 30 days of June 24, 2020 and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend any modifications as may be necessary.” 

Advice to Employers 

To minimize the impact on recruitment of the labor force, and to allow existing employees to reenter, we suggest employers/companies should carefully consider other visa options unaffected by this Order. These visa options include:

  • O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa
  • B-1 Temporary Business Visitor Visa
  • B-1 in lieu of H-1B Professional Worker Visa
  • E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
  • E-3 Visa for workers from Australia
  • H-1B1 Visa for workers from Singapore and Chile
  • TN Visa for those from Mexico and Canada. 

In addition, those who applied for H-1B change of status within the U.S. are not affected by this ban either. Please keep in mind that this proclamation and ban also works with the COVID-19 travel ban and closure in the U.S. Consulates. 

The June 22 2020 President’s Proclamation may be read here.


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