Since April 2020, many intending immigrants have been prevented from coming to the U.S. due to pandemic-related travel restrictions classifying these individuals as risks to the U.S. labor market. On February 24, 2021, President Joe Biden revoked Proclamation 10014 (Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak) as well as section 1 of Proclamation 10052 and section 1 of Proclamation 10131, which extended the restrictions, often referred to as the ‘immigrant visa ban’ or ‘green card ban.’
In his latest executive action on immigration, President Biden stated that the previous administration’s entry restrictions hurt the United States by keeping families separated, harming industries that use international talent, and frustrating the Diversity Visa Lottery program. He also affirmed that the unrestricted entry of those with immigrant visas “is not detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
The U.S. Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security were ordered to review their respective agencies’ regulations, guidance, and policies in order to revise any that were implemented based on the now-revoked Proclamation 10014.
The State Department’s National Visa Center should resume consular processing for individuals outside the U.S. with approved immigrant petitions (I-130 or I-140) whose priority dates are current under the latest visa bulletin. However, many U.S. embassies and consulates have not yet resumed routine visa services due to staffing and/or public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, intending immigrants may still encounter delays in obtaining immigrant visas to enter the United States.
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