The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the US government to pass many groundbreaking laws. The latest in the series is the executive order from President Donald Trump. This executive order puts to halt the issue of green cards for a period of 60 days. While the president claims that this is done to protect the interests of American workers from competition from other countries, it is important to know how it will affect those that travel.
Who Does this Order Affect?
This executive order (EO) restricts entry of people from outside the US who seek lawful permanent residency that allows them to live and work in the country. It affects those so seek to apply for green cards through their employment, family members, or other ways.
The EO bars any green card holder from sponsoring their spouse or child from seeking residency for the 60 days. It applies only to the applications of immigrants outside the US, who already don’t have a green card.
The president has also announced that the 60-day suspension could also be extended based on the country’s economy. He has indicated that it may be modified depending on many factors.
Exemptions from the Bank
Despite this EO, there are many people who have been left unaffected by the temporary restriction. Some of these exceptions are as follows:
- Children under 21 and spouses of American citizens will not be affected
- Medical professionals fighting the coronavirus are exempted. Their under-21, unmarried children and spouses are also exempt.
- Those applying through the EB-5 program are exempt
- Anyone whose entry is classified under the category of ‘national interest’ can be exempt
- Members of the U.S. military are not affected by this EO
This EO doesn’t affect tourists. However, it must be known that routine visa processing is suspended around the world amid the Covid-19 challenge. All nonessential travel has been restricted, which includes tourism and refugee admissions.
Immigration has already been on hold because Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices are already closed in the country. Appointments have not been taking place amid the pandemic threat.
Impact on Temporary Work Visa
This executive order doesn’t affect those seeking non-immigration visas that may be granted temporarily and don’t pave the path for permanent residency or citizenship. Examples of such visas include H-2A and H-1B among others. It is also important to realize that this EO doesn’t void any existing visa.
This order doesn’t affect those who are lawfully in the US from applying for green cards. If you are on a non-immigrant visa and in the country, you may adjust your status without making an entry. However, as already mentioned, this may still be affected if the respective offices are not yet open. If you are a green card holder and in the country, this EO doesn’t interfere with your application for naturalization.
It is worth knowing that this EO doesn’t make major changes to the current situation because there are already many travel restrictions in place. The US State Department has already halted almost all types of visa processing because of the outbreak of the pandemic. Interviews for the US refugee resettlement program, visa applications, and citizenship ceremonies have been stopped or postponed for the time being.