President Trump announced on Tuesday that he will sign an executive order that will suspend the processing of permanent residence applications for 60 days. The announcement stated that there may be exemptions to the rule, however what these exemptions are are unknown. This measure is a means to protect U.S. workers and conserve medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point, no additional details are known. What this will mean for adjustment of status applications that are currently pending, what this means for consulate processing applications, how this will affect family based or employment based applications, when this order will go into effect, or if USCIS will reject all adjustment of status application for these 60 days is unknown. Visa processing at consulates have been suspended since mid-March for most consulates but USCIS have continued to process applications although interviews have also been suspended.
At this point, what we know of the executive order does not impact nonimmigrant employment applications. H-1B applications that have finished lottery selection on March 31, L visa, E-1, E-2, E-3, TN, and other nonimmigrant worker programs have not been suspended at this time. However, the President did not rule out further orders addressing these programs.
It is unknown at this time when this order will be effective. The order will be re-evaluated after 60 days and extensions and expansions are possible at or before that time. Foreign nationals applying for or with pending permanent resident applications should anticipate delays at this time. More information will be provided as they are known.
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