Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Immigration & Compliance Law 
New exception to visa suspensions for those resuming work with same employer


On 8/12/2020, the Department of State web site listed a new exception to the June 2020 proclamation suspending H, L and J visa issuance at U.S. Consulates abroad.

The latest exception is for those seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.  

This latest exception should help H, L and J employees who were outside of the U.S. when the visa suspension went into effect.

The language of this latest exemption indicates,"Consular officers can refer to Part II, Question 2 of the approved Form I-129 to determine if the applicant is continuing in "previously approved employment without change with the same employer."

However, the category listed above applies only to petition extensions, so the guidance above does not address whether an H-1B or L-1 employee with an approved petition that is not an extension will also be permitted to apply for a new visa in order to return to the U.S. to resume employment with the same company.  Until there is further guidance, any individuals who were outside the U.S. when the visa suspension took effect should try to schedule visa appointments.

As of August 12, 2020, the Department of State exceptions to the proclamations, include:
  • Spouses and children of H, J, and L visa holders who are already excepted from the proclamation.  That is, U.S. Consulates will continue to issue H-4, L-2, and J-2 visas to dependent family members where the principal applicant (H-1, L-1, J-1) either already has a valid visa stamp or is currently in the U.S. maintaining valid H, L or J status.
  • Applicants who will "age out" (turn 21) of their current immigrant visa classification before the relevant proclamations expire or within two weeks thereafter.
  • Certain H and J visa applicants who are traveling to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy objective (such as COVID-19 response) and/or traveling at the request of the U.S. government.
     
  • NEW! Travel by applicants seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.  Forcing employers to replace employees in this situation may cause financial hardship.  Consular officers can refer to Part II, Question 2 of the approved Form I-129 to determine if the applicant is continuing in "previously approved employment without change with the same employer."
This immigration alert is being sent only to company representatives.  Please share with your foreign national employees.

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If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided in this email, please don't hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

 


Leila Freijy
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC