Coronavirus, Immigration

President Trump temporarily halts immigration amid COVID-19

April 27, 2020
By ISSS

Key takeaways: 

  • On April 22, 2020 President Donald Trump issued an executive order limiting the issuance of immigrant visas for those outside of the United States seeking entry as green card holders for 60 days. It came into effect on Thursday, April 23. 
     
  • The order does not prevent those holding nonimmigrant visas for temporary entry (J-1, H1-B, F-1 etc.) from remaining in the United States or obtaining a visa at a consulate/embassy abroad.
     
  • The current order will not directly affect the vast majority of individuals coming to Penn to study, work, or engage in training. ISSS will share updates as we receive them. 

On April 22, 2020 President Donald Trump issued an executive order limiting the issuance of immigrant visas for those outside of the United States seeking entry as green card holders. Notably, the order does not impact admission to the U.S. by those holding nonimmigrant visas for temporary entry (J-1, H1-B, F-1 etc.) or their ability to obtain a visa at a consulate abroad. It also does not prevent those already in the United States in any visa category from remaining here, changing their employer to Penn, or transferring to Penn. In practice, the State Department had already put the processing of new visas in nonimmigrant categories on hold due to COVID-19 related closures and embassies having suspended routine visa services.

The new order became effective on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET) and suspended the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

The following categories are exempted from the proclamation:

  1. Lawful permanent residents (LPR)
  2. Individuals and their spouses or children seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional to perform work essential to combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees)
  3. Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
  4. Spouses of U.S. citizens 5. Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
  5. Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
  6. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  7. Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
  8. Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).

It is within the discretion of the Department of State consular officer who is issuing the immigrant visa to determine if an individual is within one of the exempted categories outlined above.

The order expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary.

The current order, as issued, will not directly affect the vast majority of individuals coming to Penn to study, work, or engage in training. We will share relevant updates as they become available.