The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every facet of our society and legal system. This is particularly bad news for those hoping to visit or move to the United States. The immigration process was already rife with obstacles and delays before the pandemic, and a recent executive order has caused countless individuals and families to wonder whether their goals are now impossible to accomplish.
Fortunately, it is still possible to obtain immigrant and nonimmigrant visas at this time. You will need to stay well-informed, however, because government agencies are rapidly adjusting policies and operational procedures. The following is a breakdown of Trump’s most recent executive order and how it may affect your case.
Everything You Need to Know About the Immigration Ban
The immigration ban took effect at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23, 2020. The exact time is important because your whereabouts will influence whether the ban may affect you.
More specifically, you will be prohibited from obtaining a green card during the ban if you were outside the U.S. when it took effect AND you did not have an official form of travel authorization, such as advance parole.
Due to this precise language, the ban does NOT affect those already in the U.S. when it took effect. If you have a pending case with USCIS, your application process should proceed normally. Additionally, the ban does not affect nonimmigrant (temporary visa) cases, although the administration may add this category at the 30-day mark.
The executive order also lists several exemptions. You can still obtain a green card during the ban if:
- Your sponsor is your parent or spouse AND a U.S. citizen
- You (or your parent/spouse) are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
- You (or your parent/spouse) are eligible for a Special Immigrant visa (reserved for Afghan/Iraqi translators and U.S. government officials)
- You (or your parent/spouse) are seeking an employment-based green card as a healthcare professional or any other person deemed essential in combating the pandemic
- You are seeking an employment-based green card through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa
- Your immigration to the U.S. is deemed (by the Secretaries of DHS and State) beneficial for national objectives
- You are seeking asylum
At the end of the 60 days, the administration may extend the ban, but they have not yet indicated whether they plan to do so.
Bring Your Questions & Concerns to Our Office
At The Law Office of Tony E. Parada, we have handled hundreds of immigration cases. We have witnessed the constantly changing legal system over our years of practice, and we know how to expertly navigate these changes and adjust our counsel and representation accordingly. If you are concerned about the fate of your application during or after the COVID-19 pandemic, we can assess your situation and help you implement the strategy you need to succeed.
Call (832) 261-4076 or contact us online today. We offer services in both English and Spanish.