A new U.S. administration starts this week, but the soon-to-be former administration still has the last word on issuing visas, for now.
Last April, President Trump passed the proclamation in which he suspended the entry of immigrant visa holders due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, Trump imposed the restriction on non-immigrant visa holders as well.
Initially, the visa ban was to be lifted on the last day of 2020, however, the Trump administration has extended the suspension until March 31st, 2021.
Following these proclamations, the COVID ban will not allow any immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants that reside outside of the United States to enter. It must be noted, though, that a large number of US federal judges have tried their best to limit the impact these proclamations have created, so that the entry bar on non-immigrant visas will be applicable only to fresh applications of employer-sponsored work visas.
• H-2B, and
An example includes U. S. District Judge, Jeffrey White, who held that the Trump administration’s COVID work visa ban would not be applicable against certain groups and their members. Moreover, another example was noted in December 2020 when Edward Chen, US District Judge of Oakland, California ruled out that the visa ban would not be applicable against the citizens and legal residents of the United States. Therefore, by excluding the applicability of the visa ban on certain groups and residents of the U. S. , the judges have limited the extent of Trump’s visa ban.
Biden’s bold statements about reversing many of Trump's bans are fuelling thousands of immigrants with high hopes, but as of now, he has not yet said whether he would immediately reverse them all. While stating that he would undo bans on family reunifications and promising a more humane treatment of immigrants, reversing limitations that are related to COVID-19 can take time.
Image: Maria Oswalt