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President Expands Executive Order – H-1B, J, and L Visas Affected

As expected, today the President issued an expansion of the executive order he signed in April (“Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market during the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak”), which was originally issued for an initial 60-day period with potential to be renewed. President Trump expanded and extended the executive order until December 31, 2020.  The initial executive order was limited to overseas applicants for immigrant visas (i.e., green cards), but the renewal of the order expanded its application to nonimmigrant employment-based visa holders, such as H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J visa holders.

The Executive Order states the following:

Sec2.  Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  The entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas is hereby suspended and limited, subject to section 3 of this proclamation:

(a)  an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;

(b)  a J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien; and

(c)  an L visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.

Sec3.  Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  (a)  The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall apply only to any alien who:

(i)    is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii)   does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii)  does not have 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.

In short, the executive order expansion applies to H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J-1, L-1, and L-2 visa holders that are outside the U.S. and do not have a visa valid on the effective date of the proclamation.

As a reminder, individuals that are within the U.S. will not have their valid visa status or work authorization affected by the new order. Pending applications for immigration benefits with USCIS or DOL (for example, H-1B amendments, transfers, extensions, cap-subject petitions, LCA’s, H-4 and EAD applications, etc.) are not affected by the order.