Trump's ban on immigration will affect the winners of the green card lottery: what you need to know
Stopping the immigration process, banning entry - more and more rules come into force in the United States and cause general uncertainty, especially among participants and winners of the DV-2020 green card lottery. Immigration attorney Ekaterina Muratova at the request of ForumDaily, she explained who the newly issued restrictions were for and what to prepare for.
Reasons for the ban on immigration
On April 22, 2020, US President Donald Trump suspended entry from the United States on immigrant visas for 60 days. This decision was made in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, the growth of unemployment among American citizens. The President explained that immigrant visa holders could potentially work for any employer in the country, thereby competing for a few jobs with citizens and permanent residents of the United States.
According to the president, this restriction will help reduce unemployment in the country. However, representatives of large American companies do not share this view.
On June 22, 2020, Trump signed a new decree extending the previously published immigration ban until December 31, 2020. This decision entered into force on June 24 and will be reviewed after 30, and then 60 days, to determine the need for further policy adjustments.
Immigration ban vs entry ban
It is important to understand the terminology correctly: the ban on entry resulting from a pandemic continues to be valid for an unlimited period of time, while there is a danger of the spread of the virus, completely independent of the new presidential decree. This ban means that at present, foreigners, with the exception of holders of green cards (!), Cannot enter the United States if they have been in the countries of the Schengen zone, Great Britain, Brazil or China in the last 14 days. Just like U.S. citizens, they cannot currently enter EU countries.
If you are currently in a country not mentioned above, or plan to spend 14 days immediately before flying to the United States in a third country (many travelers currently choose Mexico), you can enter the United States as a tourist. Moreover, although the ban on entry is “unlimited” in time, it is likely to be lifted much earlier than the new ban on immigration.
The ban on immigration affects people from all over the world, regardless of their location, who were going to apply for a green card or a specific work visa at the US Consulate.
Who is affected by the immigration ban
From June 24, 2020, the ban on immigration will only affect the issuance of new immigration and certain non-immigrant visas:
- H-1B (work visa) - specialized experts;
- H-2B (work visa) - temporary non-agricultural workers;
- L-Visa (work visa) - transfer of an employee within the company;
- J-Visa (student visa) - interns, exchange program participants, au-pair assistants;
- EB-1-4 Visa (Immigrant Visa) - Applicants for green cards based on employment;
- Diversity Visa (immigration visa) - winners of the green card lottery;
- As well as family members accompanying holders of any of these visas (spouses and children).
Exceptions to the rules
The ban does not apply to the following people:
- applicants for status changes in the United States (immigration or non-immigration);
- holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas (that is, people who have already received visas before the ban can enter the United States freely);
- applicants for the investor's green card (EB-5);
- people applying for a green card based on marriage with a US citizen;
- people whose biological children are unmarried US citizens under the age of 21;
- people of national interest to the country, such as medical workers, food workers, etc.
- asylum seekers in the USA;
- applicants for any other type of non-immigrant visa.
What awaits the winners of the DV-2020 lottery
If you are a winner of the DV-2020 lottery and have not yet been assigned an interview at the U.S. Consulate, it will probably be impossible to complete the green card processing process within the legal deadlines. Under U.S. law, an immigrant visa to winners of this lottery can only be issued until September 30, 2020.
But what about the winners of the DV-2020 lottery who have already passed an interview at the US consulate and received immigrant visas, but cannot enter the United States on time due to border closures? - The US State Department has not yet made official statements regarding the possibility of extending this category of immigrant visas.
Bar associations suggest that litigation will begin in the United States to restore the deadline for obtaining DV-2020 immigrant visas. However, at the moment the situation does not look encouraging.
What awaits the winners of the DV-2021 lottery
If at the beginning of June 2020 you learned that you became the winner of the DV-2021 lottery, you will not be affected by innovations. It is possible that the first interviews at the consulate among such winners will begin to be scheduled for January 2021, and not for October 2020, as it was before.
Please note that in February this year a new “public charge rule” was introduced, according to which all visa applicants must prove that they will not become a burden on the state, in addition to meeting the rest of the requirements of the program.
Given that the interview period for the winners of DV-2021 will be reduced, it is worthwhile to correctly prepare all the documents in advance so as not to cause delays in case of lack of any evidence and additional questions from the consul.
You must obtain entry visas or change your status in the United States, if you are already in the country, before September 30, 2021. After this date, immigrant visas will not be issued under any circumstances.
Democrats have already announced that if they win the November election, they will lift the ban on immigration. But perhaps this will be done even faster: US corporations fear that this regulation will have a negative impact on the US economy, as skilled workers from other countries will no longer be available. It is also likely that this executive decree will be challenged in court and canceled before December.
What awaits the participants of the green card lottery DV-2022
Participants of the Green Card DV-2022 lottery, which will be held this year, should not worry, as the decree does not affect the holding of the Diversity Visa Lottery in October. However, last year’s innovation about the obligatory presence of a passport at the time of application submission led to a decrease in the number of participants, but at the same time increased the chances of winning. There were twice as many winners as in the previous year.
Trump cannot pause or cancel the lottery by his own decree!
It can be assumed that by the time the results are announced in May 2022, the situation will improve again, so if you win, you can certainly apply for your green card without any problems.
Comments from the State Department
Question: I have a valid H-1B, H2B, L, or J visa, and my children / husband or wife have derivative visas. Can I enter the USA? [H-1B gives the right to work to highly skilled workers, in particular in the field of IT, L is issued for transfer within one company, H-2B for low-skilled workers, J is issued to participants in educational programs]
Answer: Those who have valid visas as of June 24 do not fall under the new ban. However, those who expire, and those who apply for its renewal, are eligible.
Question: I am already in the United States on an H-1B, H2B, J, or L. visa. What does this mean for me?
Answer: The ban has no retroactive effect. Visas will not be canceled. For renewal, contact the Department of Homeland Security.
Question: What type J visas are covered by the ban?
Answer: The ban applies to those who have a J visa and are "trainee, student, teacher, camp employee, au pair, or participate in the summer study and work program, as well as accompanying such foreigners."
Question: Will this affect the participants of the green card lottery?
Answer: This program has many stages; applicants under the DV-2021 program will be interviewed no earlier than fiscal year 2021. The ban will end on December 31, provided that it is not extended.
Question: I am a medic, is there an exception for me?
Answer: Therapists who apply for J visas are not prohibited. Physicians who wish to enter the United States on an H-1B or L visa to provide medical services or participate in a COVID-19 study may be considered for an exception.
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