The Trump Administration recently enacted several exceptions to the work visa ban for migrants whose arrival is deemed in the “national interest.” The Department of Defense, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and a handful of other federal agencies are empowered to designate certain individuals’ entry to the U.S. as in the “national interest.” The Trump Administration is encouraging immigrants who believe their visa is in the national interest to contact their local embassies or consulates for instructions on how to secure an emergency appointment through this exception.
Effect of Exception
The exception creates a two-track approach for the same visa – some are granted fast-tracked approvals while others are forced to wait. The effect of the June 22 work visa ban was to forestall nearly all immigration to the U.S., including L1-A and B visas, which seriously disrupted American businesses across the country.
Applicants who believe they qualify for an emergency appointment may contact their local embassy or consulate to begin the process. If an applicant is approved for an emergency appointment, then at the visa interview, the State Department will determine if the person is eligible for the exception. However, many consulates and embassies are offering limited services. Therefore, most of these exceptions may not be granted unless travel to the U.S. is deemed “mission-critical.”
Visas With Possible Exceptions to the Ban
In addition to L-1A and L-1B visas, the following visas may qualify for an exception to the ban. However, each visa may qualify for an exception under different conditions.
- H1-B Visa
- H2-B Visa
- J-1 Visa
- H-4 Visa
- L-2 Visa
- J-2 Visa
Some L1-A and L1-B Visa Exception Conditions
Public health and healthcare professionals (i.e., doctors, nurses, researchers, etc.) who are engaged in ongoing medical research that is significant to public health or who are part of the process to ease the impact of COVID-19 are excepted. The exception permits medical professionals and researchers who are working on COVID-19 and on any other medical issues that are significant to public health (such as curing cancer or the flu).
Additionally, travel to the U.S. at the request of a federal agency or institution that is vital to U.S. foreign policy interests is permitted. Workers who are resuming work in the U.S. with the same employer at the same job under the same visa classification may also be excepted.