What Non-Immigrant Visa Holders Need to Know About the Trump Visa Ban

Current through July 27, 2020. While we will try to update this advisory as these policies develop, please do not rely on this information without consulting with immigration counsel.

Citing the economic impact of COVID-19 and the need to limit foreign workers from competing with US workers, President Trump issued a proclamation on June 24, 2020 that will continue in effect until December 31, 2020. Because this proclamation and the one preceding it from March 2020 are the subject of confusion and questions, Poarch Thompson Law has prepared this set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) re: the effect of these orders.

Which non-immigrants does the proclamation affect?

Effective June 24, 2020 and until at least December 31, 2020, the following visa holders will not be permitted to travel to the United States:

  • H-1B and H-2B nonimmigrants;
  • L-1A executives and managers
  • L-1B specialized knowledge workers;
  • J-1 interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs and Summer Work Travel participants; and
  • Dependent spouses and children of H-1B, H-2B, L and J nonimmigrants cited above.

who are also outside the United States on June 24, 2020 and who do not have a valid visa or a valid travel document, such as a transportation letter or an advance parole; and who are not otherwise subject to an exception (see below).

Which non-immigrants are not included in the proclamation?

  • Individuals present in the US on June 24, 2020 in any of the prohibited visa types. This includes change of status applicants under the FY 2021 H-1B cap;
  • Individuals holding a valid visa, advance parole or other U.S. travel document on June 24;
  • Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • J-1  exchange program participants who are not working as interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs and summer work travel participants; and
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) of the United States.

It is important to note that there are several work visas that are not included in the ban.  Many of the visas, such as E-1, E-2, E-3, TN and H-1B1 visas, are based on treaties. Others, such as O-1 visas, for individuals of extraordinary ability, are not included, presumably to retain American competitiveness for the leaders in their respective fields.  In addition, this Proclamation does not apply to F-1 students and B visitors.

Two categories of individuals may apply for exclusions from the ban’s application by utilizing a “national interest” exemption from the ban (not to be confused with national interest waivers for green card status, which is a legal avenue to permanent residence). These two categories are individuals who would be subject to the ban, but for the following “exemption”:

  • Foreign nationals entering the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
  • Foreign nationals whose entry is in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their representatives.

What about Canadians?

The ban does not address the status of Canadians, who are visa exempt. Canadians in H-1B status do not require a visa or travel documents to enter the United States but rather, may be admitted by presenting a Canadian passport and I-797 Approval Notice for H-1B, H-2B and L-1 status or DS-2019 for J-1 status. It is unclear whether Canadians are not included due to an oversight or whether the proclamation is silent on their status intentionally. Whatever the rationale, in light of unrelated COVID-19 travel restrictions and the uncertainty surrounding this travel ban, it is not recommended that Canadians in the U.S. travel internationally without consulting carefully with immigration counsel.

Who is eligible for a “national interest” exemption?

Apart from generally noting the two classes of individuals listed above (foreign nationals entering the US to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and those whose entry is in the national interest as determined by the US government), the proclamation those who are:

  • Necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States;
  • Involved with clinical care or research related to COVID-19; and
  • Critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the United States.

Waivers will probably be difficult to obtain and will be decided on a case-by-case basis at the U.S. Consulate. See Poarch Thompson Law Notice Re: Department of State Criteria for Exemptions.

What about the March visa ban?

This Proclamation extends the previous proclamation from March 2020 which limited immigrants (as opposed to non-immigrants, the subject of the majority of the June 2020 ban) from entering the United States. U.S. Consulates will not process immigrant visas except spouses of U.S. citizens, children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees, healthcare professionals, EB-5 investors and those whose entry is in the national interest. This rule does not apply to individuals following-to-join permanent resident spouses or parents in the US.

What does this proclamation mean for employers?

As always, we recommend that employers avoid employees engaging in international travel if at all possible. Employers of new hires (e.g., H1B cap selectees) waiting outside of the United States should expect delay in entry into the United States until January 2021 at the earliest. Unless they are eligible for the national interest waiver, H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 nonimmigrants outside of the United States will be unable to travel to the U.S. As before, this ban could be extended beyond December 2020.

Please contact Poarch Thompson Law for further questions or information.

PTL Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine

Poarch Thompson Law attorney Christine Poarch was selected as a Super Lawyer and Poarch Thompson Law attorneys Rachel Thompson and Jaime McGuire were selected as Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2020 by the Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine. Our firm was recognized for our excellence in the practice area of immigration.

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using peer nominations, evaluations, and independent research. Only 5% of attorneys are selected to Super Lawyers and 2.5% to Rising Stars. The full list of recognized attorneys can be found here: https://www.superlawyers.com/about/digital_magazine.html

COVID-19: Stimulus & Unemployment FAQs

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://poarchthompsonlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PLHeadshots19_082-1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rachel L. D. Thompson, an immigration and adoption attorney, is a partner at Poarch Thompson Law.[/author_info] [/author]


Immigration attorneys have been getting many questions about unemployment benefits, the stimulus package and what it might mean for them. This blog discusses the most common questions regarding the stimulus package as a result of COVID-19. 

1: Do US citizens who filed joint taxes with their immigrant-spouse receive a stimulus check? 

Similar to the 2008 stimulus package, the current stimulus package, also known as the CARES Act, does not include taxpayers who filed joint taxes with their spouse who does not have a social security number. If the immigrant-spouse using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) number filed joint taxes with the US citizen-spouse, the US citizen-spouse who would otherwise be eligible for a stimulus check will not be eligible to receive a stimulus check. The only exception to this rule is for military families. With the filing deadline extended, we recommend you talk with an accountant. 

2: Is receiving a stimulus check considered a public benefit for purposes of inadmissibility? 

USCIS has not explicitly answered this question but many immigration attorneys believe the answer is no. First, the stimulus check is not means-tested and, therefore, is not considered a public benefit. Second, the USCIS Policy Manual in Chapter 10 explains that “cash assistance for income maintenance” is a public benefit for purposes of the public charge inadmissibility. However, it also explains that “USCIS considers any other federal, state, and local tribal cash assistance for income maintenance (other than tax credits).” The stimulus check is considered to be a tax credit for 2020 paid in advance without an option to return it. Thus, it is not considered income maintenance but rather a tax credit which would not be considered a public benefit. 

3: Can I receive unemployment benefits and will it be considered a public charge for purposes of inadmissibility? 

Similar to receiving a stimulus check, unemployment benefits are not means-tested and therefore not considered a public benefit. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, all workers (whether citizen or noncitizen) must meet certain requirements as determined by state law. Noncitizens with valid work authorization and social security numbers who have met state requirements may receive unemployment benefits without being considered inadmissible. USCIS considers unemployment as an earned benefit which is excluded from the public charge assessment.

Poarch Thompson Law attends VWAA’s Success Project Luncheon

Poarch Thompson Law attorneys, Christine Poarch and Jaime McGuire, attended Virginia Women’s Attorney Association’s (VWAA) Success Project Luncheon last Wednesday, January 29th 2020. 

The main speakers for the Success Project Luncheon event were Roanoke/Salem attorneys, Christine Poarch and Elizabeth Perrow. Though both attorneys practice different areas of law, Christine practices immigration and adoption law while Elizabeth practices medical malpractice defense, both women have built successful careers in their practice area. Alongside extensive lists of accolades attached to Christine and Elizabeth’s careers, both women are known as frequent lecturers and speakers at conferences across the Virginia and the rest of the United States. 

At the Success Project Luncheon, Elizabeth and Christine shared stories about their journeys as attorneys in their respective fields. Though both took different paths to get to where they are today, both women connected on the importance of authenticity when leading a law firm and attempting to create a supportive and nourishing office culture for both the client and those who work there. They also touched on different strategies in maintaining a purposeful client base and the importance of creating, implementing, and reworking marketing strategies when leading a law firm. 

Virginia Women Attorney Association (VWAA) strives to assist and foster the person and career of the women who make part in Virginia’s attorney work force. Through events like last Wednesday, Success Project Luncheon, VWAA helps these women attorneys by giving them access to a supportive community, in developing their professional practice, and helping them achieve their potential.  

Christine Lockhart Poarch founded Poarch Law (now, Poarch Thompson Law) in 2003. She practices immigration and adoption law at Poarch Thompson Law. 

Elizabeth Guilbert Perrow is a trial lawyer who practices primarily in the area of medical malpractice defense. She is a principal attorney at Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law. 

Adios 2019 and Hello 2020!

The new year brings new office roles & growth.

Last year brought exciting changes, confirmed and tested our faith, strengthened our unity as a tribe and offered opportunities for gratitude for each other and the clients and communities we serve. Even though Year 2020 has only been with us for twenty-one days, this year has already proven to be full of news and excitement.

In addition to Rachel making partner and the firm name changing to Poarch Thompson Law effective January 1, 2020, we have also added three members to our team: Sidney Clinevell, Karla Garcia, and Joey Poarch. Sidney is our adoption paralegal and Karla is our newest asylum paralegal. Joey’s title at the firm has changed from “occasional technology consultant” at Poarch Law to Chief Information Officer at Poarch Thompson. Each of these folks brings new energy, perspectives, strengths, and life to our office team of six attorneys and now, eighteen staff, and we cannot wait for you to meet them.
Sidney Clinevell poarch thompson lawKarla Garcia Poarch Thompson Law

SIJS Practice Advisory Post-Canales

This practice advisory, written by Legal Aid Justice Center, Ayuda and the Poarch Law Firm, helps advocates make persuasive arguments to keep the courthouse doors open for immigrant children statewide.


Tutor o Tutora de Reserva

Hemos recibido varias solicitudes para un documento que permitirá al TUTOR o TUTORA DE RESERVA que ayude si ICE detuviera a uno o dos de los padres o guardia. Preguntamos a uno de los abogados locales que crea un documento que nombrara a un Tutor o Tutora de reserva como Tutor o Tutora temporal. Lo proevemos aquí por GRATIS En Vista de que hemos escuchado de personas que no son abogados cobrando por este mismo documento. No dude en comunicarnos si tiene un menor con discapacidades serias o se le gustaria saber si tienes opciones para tener status en los Estados Unidos. En proveerle este documento, no le estamos dando consejos legales, sino respondiendo a la necesidad urgente que sienten los padres en designar un Tutor o Tutora de reserva sobre los niños con la incrementa fuerza inmigratoria. Si usted tiene un menor con discapacidades serias o necesidades especiales o si usted busca más consejos sobre este tipo de Tutor o Tutora, favor de comunicarse con un abogado o llamenos para una referencia con unos de nuestros abogados experimentados sobre estos asuntos.

El documento se puede acceder aquí: ESPANOL-STANDBY CHILD GDN DESIG PL

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