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H/L/J Nonimmigrant Proclamation Expired on Mar 31, 2021, But Travel Challenges Will Remain

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H/L/J Nonimmigrant Proclamation: A Trump-era official proclamation suspending the entry of certain foreign nationals in the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 categories, and their dependents, are expired on 31st March 2021.

The nonimmigrant proclamation had been in effect since 24th June 2020 and was at first planned to expire on 31st December 2020. However, previous President Donald Trump extended the ban through March 31, 2021. President Joe Biden revoked a companion Trump-era immigrant visa ban on 25th February 2021. But let the nonimmigrant ban run its course through the end of March.

The H/L/J nonimmigrant proclamation affected the following categories of nonimmigrants, subject to different exclusions and exceptions:

  • L-1A executives and managers;
  • H-1B and H-2B nonimmigrants;
  • L-1B specialized knowledge workers;
  • J-1 interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and Summer Work Travel participants; and
  • Their dependent spouses and children.

What is next for foreign nationals affected by the ban expiration?

Foreign nationals not, longer subject to the H/L/J nonimmigrant proclamation. May nevertheless remain subject to continuous regional COVID public health travel restrictions and reduced consular operations abroad. Which could impede their ability to get a visa or reenter the United States.

Regional travel bans remain in place for foreign nationals physically present in Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa. And the United Kingdom within 14 days of trying entry to the United States. However, exemptions exist for certain family members of U.S. residents and green card holders and for those whose travel is deemed in the national interest.

[Biden admin asks those impacted by Trump travel ban to reapply for H-1B visa]

In addition, consular operations worldwide remain reduced because of COVID-19 public health measures. Critical visa application backlogs have been framed as a result of COVID measures. As well as the Trump-era immigrant and nonimmigrant visa bans. And are probably going to develop as foreign nationals looking for H, L, or J visas submit applications and await visa appointments. Visa candidates should expect delays as consulates continue to phase in routine visa services and work through backlogs.

For those able to clear the current regional travel bans, a negative COVID test or proof of recent COVID recovery is needed. As a condition of any international air travel to the United States.

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