Certain National Interest Exemptions to Presidential Proclamations for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas

The State Department continues to clarify the list of national interest exceptions to Presidential proclamations of immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Note the following:

  • For H-1Bs, exceptions for travel as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate effects of COVID-19; and
  • Travel supported by a request from a U.S. government agency to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives;
  • For H-2B temporary workers, exceptions are available for travel based on a request from a U.S. government agency or entity to meet certain critical foreign policy objectives;
  • For J-1 visas, certain exceptions for au pairs possessing special skills required for a child with special needs or to ensure that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident does not become a public health charge himself/herself;
  • J-1 exceptions also for exceptions for exchange programs conducted pursuant to certain Memorandums of Understanding between a foreign government and any deferral, state, or local government within the United States designed to promote U.S. national interests; interns and trainees on U.S. government agency-sponsored programs; and specialized teachers and accredited educational programs beginning with a G-5 on Form DS-2019; and programs designed to created critical foreign policy objectives;
  • For L-1 visas, exception for travel for public health or healthcare professional or to alleviate the effects of COVID-19 or to conduct research in an area with a substantial public benefit;
  • For H-4, L-2, and J-2 visas, national interest exceptions are available for those accompanying or following to join a principal applicant who is not subject to the Presidential proclamation affecting non-immigrants (including those granted a national interest exception. This exception can be extended to derivative applicants when the principal is in the United States or has a valid visa).

With respect to national interest exceptions to the Presidential proclamation suspending the entry of immigrants to the United States, exceptions are available for the following:

  • Where the applicant is subject to aging out of the current immigrant visa classification before the Presidential proclamation expires;
  • Those subject to one of the national interest exceptions can schedule an interview for a visa appointment at the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.

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