H-1B, H-2B and J-1 visas are still an option if you meet these criteria
The U.S. State Department has clarified the new restrictions brought forth from the recent Presidential Proclamation restricting travel for H-1B, H-2B and J-1 visa holders. However, there are new visa restriction exceptions.
While the restrictions remain in place making it exceedingly difficult for new immigrants, even those selected in the H-1B lottery, to secure visas, there are now some notable exceptions. Therefore, these include exceptions for those whose travel to the U.S. is in the country’s best interest.
H-1B Visa Restriction Exceptions
To procure a H-1B visas you need to:
- Healthcare professionals and researchers working on the COVID-19 pandemic or whose work has been adversely affected by the pandemic.
- Travelers who are supported by a request from a government agency or entity and whose travel is necessary to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations.
- Researchers, IT support or services and those engaging in similar products. Deemed necessary to meet US foreign policy objections or to meet treat or contractual obligations
- Rehiring of applicants by the same employer they previously worked with
- Technical specialists, senior managers and others who are deemed necessary to the economic recovery of the US based on their job, wages or education.
H-2B Visa Restriction Exceptions
Like the H-1B, issuing a H-2Bs for travel based on a request from a U.S. government agency or entity and for travel necessary to facilitate economic recovery. For the latter, consular officer can determine if the travel is necessary if the applicant meets two of the following three conditions:
- The applicant was previously employed and trained by the petitioning U.S. based employer. As well as, having worked under at least two previous H-2B visas.
- The applicant is working on a temporary labor certification (TLC). Indicating that there is a current need for this type of worker. The TLC must reflect the current labor conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The applicant is working for an employer who will face significant financial hardship if the petition is denied.
J-1 Visa Restriction Exceptions
J-1 visas are primarily work and study based and are granted to individuals. Similarity, au pairs, teachers, scholars, students and others. Granting an exception can is possible for individuals applying for J-1 visas to individuals in the following circumstances:
- Providing care for a minor U.S. citizen, LPR or non-immigrant with special needs or medical conditions
- Au pairs whose care will prevent their ward from becoming a public health charge or ward of the state
- Au pairs or others providing childcare services for medical personnel or researchers involved with the COVID-19 response
- Individuals involved with an exchange program under a previously signed agreement. Or statement of intent with a foreign government or others devoted to U.S. national interest
- Interns or trainees on U.S. government agency-sponsored programs beginning with G-3 on Form DS-2019
- Specialized teachers whose program numbers begin with G-5 on Form DS-2019
- Exchange visitors participating in critical or time sensitive foreign policy objectives
Although visas to the U.S. are much harder to secure since the President’s executive orders. There are exceptions of the new guidance from the Department of State and visas are still going through approval. The rules, however, are complex. To determine if you qualify for any of these exceptions, talk to a qualified immigration attorney. For any additional information don’t hesitate to contact us.