A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Biden Removed Immigrant Visa Ban


For the past year, immigrants have not been allowed to enter the U.S. due to former President Trump's Presidential Proclamation 10014. President Biden rescinded this proclamation on February 24, 2021 and reopened the American door to immigrants with approved petitions.  It should be noted that Proclamation 10014 and its extensions were set to expire on March 31, 2021.  

Due to this policy change, the American Embassies and Consulates will take actions as follows:

Immigrant visa applicants that have not yet been interviewed: Their applications will be processed according to local Consulate's existing phased resumption of visa services timeline.

Immigrants with valid visas but have been refused entry:  Some immigrants have already been interviewed and issued valid visas but refused entry due to 10014.  The U.S. embassy or consulate will reconsider their cases and notify them if additional documents or information are needed.  

Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants with valid visas:  If you have been issued diversity visas for  FY2020, you should seek entry into the United States immediately.  You passport may have this annotation, “Entry Subject to PP 10014.”  It should not be a problem any more. 

Individuals with expired DV-2020 visas:  They will not be issued replacement visas.  However, there is an exception.  Applicants who received diversity visas in 2020 as a result of orders in the court case Gomez v. Trump may travel to the United States on an expired visa.   The order may be changed or amended in the future. Hence, this group of DV applicants should come to the U.S. as soon as possible.  Further, the State Department has granted a national interest exception for Diversity Visa (DV) applicants for the 2020 fiscal year (DV-2020) with a valid immigrant visa.  They should be allowed to enter despite the geographic COVID-19 Presidential Proclamations (see below). 

DV-2020 without a valid visa:  Diversity visa applicants for DV-2020 who have not issued visas before September 30, 2020 will not be interviewed, scheduled, or reconsidered for visas.  The reason is that DV-2020 requires that visas must be issued before the end of the fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2020.

Diversity Visa 2021 applicants:  DV applicants for the 2021 fiscal year (DV-2021) will be notified of  the scheduling of an interview based on the local embassy or consulate's reopening schedule. 

Geographic COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect:  President Biden keeps the entry restrictions against certain countries remain in effect.  Individuals who have been in these countries within the last 14 days are not allowed to enter the U.S.  The countries include: People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.  However,  immigrant visa applicants who are spouses  or children of U.S. citizens (IR/CR-1, IR/CR-2, IR/IH-3, and IR/IH-4), as well as spouses and minor children of LPRs (F2A), are exempt from the geographic COVID-19 P.P.s.  All other immigrant visa applicants including K fiancé nonimmigrant visa applicants remain subject to these geographic restrictions.  

Resumption of normal visa services:  U.S. embassies and consulates will continue resumption of normal visa services based on each location's situation.  They will continue to provide emergency and mission- critical visa services.  Applicants are advised to check the website of their local U.S. embassy or consulate for updates on what visa services are currently available.


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