The U.S. Department of State has confirmed that Presidential Proclamation 10052, which banned the admission of foreign nationals issued H, L, and J nonimmigrant visas, expired as of March 31, 2021. Former President Trump issued this proclamation during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, regional COVID-19 related travel bans as well as consular closures continue to make it difficult to obtain nonimmigrant visas abroad.
In its statement, the Department of State also provides that applicants who were previously refused H, L, or J visas due to the Proclamation may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee. For visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or have been unable to schedule an interview, their applications will be processed in accordance with the Department of State’s phased resumption of routine visa services: “The resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, will occur on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department’s guidance for safely returning our workforce to Department of facilities.” While the agency will not provide specific date when missions will resume specific services, applicants are encouraged to check each consular post’s website for information on the operating status of that particular location.
Unfortunately, several regional travel bans continue to remain in place for an indefinite period. Specifically, the entry of individuals present in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, European Schengen Area, Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa within 14 days prior to arrival in the United States remains suspended.
Additionally, consular processing continues to be impacted by the closure of U.S. Embassies and Consulates due to local COVID-19 conditions. Many U.S. Embassies and Consulates are operating at reduced capacity even if the post is open. Therefore, nonimmigrants looking to travel outside the United States should continue to exercise caution and be flexible with their travel.