On July 17, 2020, the Department of State (DOS) provided a detailed list of exceptions under two recent Presidential Proclamations that suspended the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States. The list includes exceptions for H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1, L-2, J-1, and J-2 visas.
DOS said that travelers who believe their travel falls into one of the excepted categories (see link below) or is otherwise in the national interest may request a visa appointment at the closest U.S. embassy or consulate and a decision will be made at the time of interview. Travelers are encouraged to refer to the embassy/consulate website for detailed instructions on what services are currently available and how to request an appointment.
The exceptions are somewhat ambiguous. For example, some immigration attorneys report that despite the exception for L-1 intracompany transferees, consulates are not allowing managers or executives on “blanket” L petitions to obtain visas.
On July 16, 2020, DOS also issued guidance on national interest exceptions for certain travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
- “Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations (10014 & 10052) Suspending the Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Presenting a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak,” Department of State
- “National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland,” Department of State