By Sanwar Ali:
Recently the US State Department further clarified details for those who do not come under the latest Trump US work visa ban of 22 June 2020, which came into force on 24 June 2020. As already suggested in the past to get round the ban in some cases employers and visa applicants should consider the E2 visa and O1 visa. It should be noted that the E2 visa is limited to only certain nationalities wishing to work for an E2 visa registered business in the US and the O1 visa (O1A or O1B) is limited to a small number of “top people”. Unfortunately, Indian and Chinese nationals cannot come under the E2 visa scheme, unless gaining entry as a spouse or dependent or unless they are wealthy enough to come under a second citizenship program.
Spouses of H1B, H2B, J1 and L1 visa holder not affected by the Trump visa ban
If the H1B visa, H2B visa, J1 visa or L1 visa (both L1A visa and L1B visa) main visa applicant is already in the US in this status, or has a valid visa or comes under an exemption then the Spouse and children can gain entry based on the visa. The spouse and children should then be issued with an H4 visa, L2 visa or J2 visa. However, there is continuing uncertainty over processing times due to delays caused by coronavirus COVID-19.
State Department has providing some further details of exemptions
H and J applicants who are travelling to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy objective (such as a COVID-19 response) and/or traveling at the request of the U.S. government can gain entry to the US. Not entirely clear what the situation is for L1 visa applicants.
The State Department has so far failed to deal with further details of key economic recovery and national interest exemptions to the non-immigrant and immigrant visa bans.
Ability for family members to obtain visas comes as a big relief to thousands of families
The ability to apply for a US visa comes as a big relief to many families, especially those in India who are stranded due to the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown and work visa ban. Unfortunately, currently in most cases you still cannot apply for a US visa from outside the US. Those looking to apply should check details for US visa processing at their local US Embassy or Consulate. Hopefully visa processing will be starting again in the near future.
About half of the total number of about 600,000 H1B visa holders in the US are Indians. The majority of Indians working in the US are in the technology sector. So Indian nationals are disproportionality affected by the coronavirus lockdown and the Trump work visa ban.
Businesses and employees around the world have been greatly inconvenienced both by delays caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and also more recently by the Trump work visa ban. One coming after another has been a huge problem.
A mother stranded in India recently tweeted:
I’m stranded in India since 8 months with my 11 months old kid and couldn’t get my stamping due to consulate closure. The Present proclamation has shattered me mentally. Please reunite families and help the innocent kids.
Unfortunately, even if you can theoretically apply for an US visa because of the coronavirus COVID-19 situation it is still uncertain when you will be able to do so. Even if US visa processing opens up soon no doubt there will be lengthy processing delays due to the backlog of cases.
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