On June 22, 2020 President Trump signed a proclamation suspending the entry to the United States of certain non-immigrants. The entry ban took effect last evening at midnight and will remain in effect until at least December 31, 2020. There has been considerable press on this matter, and much of that press has been misleading.
The suspension on entry to the U.S. specifically applies to L-1, H-1B, H-2B and J work visa holders (and their accompanying dependent family members). There has been uncertainty as to how this work visa suspension would apply to Canadians, and also if it could possibly affect other common types of work visas (TN, E, O, P).
Yesterday, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) confirmed with US Customs and Border Protection HQ that the proclamation and work visa suspension does not apply to Canadians.
This is because Canadians (unlike citizens of any other country) are “visa exempt”. When Canadians receive their H-1B, H-2B, L-1 or J visas they are not required to attend a Consulate or Embassy to have a formal work visa foil issued. Canadians simply receive a work visa stamp in their passport.
To be clear:
Canadians who currently have H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J work visas can continue to use their work visa, travel freely on their work visa, and renew their work visa as necessary.
Canadian citizen spouses and dependent children of work visa holders are also exempt from the proclamation and travel restrictions.
Canadians waiting for 2020 H-1B visa approvals or planning to apply for their first L-1, H-1B, H-2B or J visa are also not affected. They can proceed with their work visa applications without restriction.
Canadians holding other common types of work visas (TN, E, O, P) are entirely unaffected by the proclamation. They can work, travel and renew their work visas as necessary.
Please note this complete exemption from the proclamation and travel restrictions is only applicable to Canadian citizens.
T. Andrew Cumming
Barrister & Solicitor, ON | Attorney-at-Law, NY, FL
Cumming & Partners