Immigration, Coronavirus UPDATED: President Trump temporarily suspends entry by certain H, J, and L nonimmigrants

January 13, 2021

On June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak," which suspended the entry of certain nonimmigrant visa categories until December 31, 2020. On December 31, 2020, President Trump issued a new proclamation which extended this suspension to March 31, 2021. The parameters of the proclamation remain the same.   

Effective immediately, the proclamation temporarily suspends the entry of the following nonimmigrant visa categories until Marc 31, 2021:

  • H-1B (specialty occupations) or H-2B (temporary non-agricultural workers), and their dependents
  • Specific J visas to include interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, summer work travel program participants,  and their dependents;
    • NOTE: the proclamation does not apply to exchange categories other than those listed. For example, it does not apply to participants in the J professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, college or university student, or ECFMG alien physician categories.
  • L-1 visas, which are typically used or intracompany transfers of managers and executives, and their dependents.

The proclamation does not impact the immigration statuses of F-1 and J-1 students and scholars.

ISSS is working to gain a full understanding of how the new presidential proclamation will affect Penn’s international community. However, the key initial takeaways are the following:

  • This proclamation will not impact the immigration status of individuals in the above visa categories who, as of June 22, 2020 are present in the United States and/or who have a valid nonimmigrant visa.
  • Exceptions may be granted to “any alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.”
  • The pause on the issuance of new visas is temporary (lasting until March 31, 2021) but may be extended at the discretion of the US Government.
  • The proclamation is not expected to impact the vast majority of H and J visa holders already at Penn.

In addition to the above, the June 22 proclamation extends a pre-existing freeze on the issuance of immigrant visas for those outside of the United States seeking entry as green card holders until the end of calendar year 2020.  Green card applicants currently in the United States are not affected by this freeze.

ISSS will share updates and new guidance as we consult with our partners on campus and in Washington, D.C.

In closing, we echo the words of Penn President Amy Gutmann, who said, “This is a major setback not only for higher education, but for our country as a whole. We need to welcome the widest range of individuals to our shores.” Penn will continue to advocate forcefully for mobility for all international students and scholars.