On April 23, 2020, the former president suspended the entry of certain employment and family-based green cards for 60 days. This proclamation was originally signed on April 22, 2020 (and was valid for 60 days), and President Trump later extended the proclamation until December 31, 2020. On December 31, 2020, President Trump extended the proclamation again, this time until March 31, 2020.
President Biden has on February 25 revoked the original proclamation. The revocation takes effect immediately and consulates are permitted to resume processing affected immigrant visa applications. However, due to reduced consular operations worldwide, applicants are likely to see delays in appointment scheduling and adjudications for months to come. Travel bans due to COVID are still in place and will delay travel further.
The State Department has issued guidance on how it will implement the rescission for applicants currently in the immigrant visa (IV) process and for those previously refused:
Not Yet Interviewed: IV applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications processed according to existing COVID-19 consular operations frameworks, which could mean reduced visa services and prioritization of visa case types, depending on the post.
Previously Refused: IV applicants whose petitions remain valid and who were previously interviewed but refused visas due to the IV ban should wait for instructions from the U.S. embassy or consulate where they were interviewed. The Department of State has said it will reconsider these cases and will inform applicants if additional information is needed.
Diversity Visa (DV) 2020 Applicants: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes up to 50,000 green cards available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. To learn more about the diversity visa, please click here.
Those holding diversity visas issued in 2020 that are still valid may seek entry to the United States immediately, despite the IV ban visa annotation. Individuals whose DV-2020 visas have expired may not be issued replacement visas. However, those who received diversity visas as a result of orders in the court case Gomez v. Trump may travel to the United States on an expired visa in compliance with the court order. The State Department warns, though, that the court order could still be changed or modified and therefore, these beneficiaries are encouraged to travel as soon as possible.
Diversity Visa 2021 Applicants: DV applicants for the 2021 fiscal year (DV-2021) should wait to be notified of the scheduling of an interview in accordance with the phased resumption of visa services framework.
The proclamation suspending the entry of H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 categories visa holders is still in place. This ban is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021; it is not expected to be extended.
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