On the 12th of August, 2020, the U.S. State Department declared National Interest exceptions to Presidential Proclamation 10052, (the U.S. Travel Ban), due to COVID-19. As a result, people can travel as long as it’s determined to be in the National Interest of the country.
What Is President Proclamation (P.P.) 10052?
President Proclamation (P.P.) 10052 was issued by President Trump on the 22nd of June 2020. The proclamation suspended foreign nationals from entering the U.S. due to the risk they pose to the U.S. labor market as it recovers on an economic front due to the virus.
P.P. 10052 is in effect till the 31st of December, 2020, and it applies to applicants for L-1, H-1B, J-1, and H-2B nonimmigrant visas. The new announcement from the U.S. State Department mentions the criteria for National Interest Exception eligibility for nonimmigrants.
Exceptions for H-1B Applicants
All H-1B applicants can apply for National Interest Exceptions under the following circumstances (note that this is not an exhaustive list of criteria):
- Travel as a researcher or a healthcare professional to help deal with the effects of Coronavirus.
- Travel to satisfy contractual or treaty obligations to meet objectives regarding U.S. foreign policy.
- Travel to resume existing employment in the U.S. with the same visa classification and employer as before.
- Travel by technical specialists, senior level managers and those whose travel is necessary . . . to help with the ongoing U.S. economic recovery. At least two of the below must be present:
- The petitioning employer has a continued need for the services or labor to be performed by the H-1B nonimmigrant in the United States.
- The applicant’s proposed job duties or position within the petitioning company indicate the individual will provide significant and unique contributions to an employer meeting a critical infrastructure need. Employment in a critical infrastructure sector alone is not sufficient; the consular officers must establish that the applicant holds one of the two types of positions noted below:
- Senior level placement within the petitioning organization or job duties reflecting performance of functions that are both unique and vital to the management and success of the overall business enterprise; OR
- The applicant’s proposed job duties and specialized qualifications indicate the individual will provide significant and unique contributions to the petitioning company.
- The wage rate paid to the H-1B applicant meaningfully exceeds the prevailing wage rate by at least 15 percent.
- The H-1B applicant’s education, training and/or experience demonstrate unusual expertise in the specialty occupation in which the applicant will be employed.
- Denial of the visa pursuant to P.P. 10052 will cause financial hardship to the U.S. employer.
Exceptions for J-1 Applicants
All J-1 applicants can apply for National Interest Exceptions under the following circumstances (note that this is not an exhaustive list of criteria):
- Travel to care for a child with particular needs. The child can be a U.S. citizen, nonimmigrant, or LPR.
- Travel by Trainees or Interns of programs sponsored by any U.S. government agency.
- Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to combat COVID-19.
- Interns and Trainees on U.S. government agency-sponsored programs.
- Specialized Teachers in Accredited Educational Institutions.
- Exchange visitors participating in an exchange program that fulfills critical and time sensitive foreign policy objectives.
Exceptions for H-2B Applicants
All H-2B applicants can apply for National Interest Exc