Pandemic Ban On Green Cards Extended Through March 31

Mario A. Godoy
Pandemic Ban On Green Cards Extended Through March 31

On Thursday, December 30, President Donald Trump extended temporary bans on issuing Green Cards and work visas through March 31, 2021. The original executive order by Trump to limit immigration during the COVID pandemic was scheduled to expire on December 31. On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending the entry of immigrants into the United States to protect American jobs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. New green cards (permanent lawful residence) are suspended for 60 days to stimulate America’s economic recovery. Over 20 million Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, and President Trump has stated his goal in temporarily suspending all immigration is to protect American jobs. In June Trump extended his initial order to December 31, 2020.

On December 31 President Trump also extended an executive order that temporarily adds new immigration restrictions on guest workers during the COVID pandemic. Work visa suspensions were first put into effect for 60 days on April 22, 2020; then on June 22, President Trump signed an executive order to restrict work visas through the end of 2020. On December 31, Trump extended the freeze on tech and highly skilled temporary workers until March 31, 2021. The restrictions prevent hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from working in the United States and is strongly opposed by business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Associations of Manufacturers, who have filed lawsuits to block the order.

What Is A Green Card?

A Green Card is a nickname for Legal Permanent Resident status (LPR). Having status as an LPR gives immigrants the right to legally live and work in the U.S. A foreign national can get a Green Card in numerous ways. Although most applicants are sponsored by either an employer or a family member in the U.S., some become LPRs through humanitarian programs as refugees or those granted asylum or other relief.

Temporary Green Card Suspension

Under the temporary Green Card restrictions, the United States will not permit the entry of immigrants who:

• Are outside of the United States on the date of the proclamation

• Does not have a valid immigration document on the effective date

• Does not have an effective travel document on the effective date or any date thereafter

• transportation letter

• boarding foil

• advance parole document

The  Green Card suspension does not apply to:

1. LPRs (lawful permanent residents) of the United States

2. Individuals, their spouses and their children who want to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees

3. Individuals applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

4. Spouses of United States citizen

5. Children of United States citizens who are under 21 years of age and prospective adoptees on a IR-4 or IH-4 visa

6. Individuals who would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee

7. Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children

8. Individuals and their families who are eligible or Special Immigration Visas as an Afghan / Iraqi translator or interpreter (SI or SQ classification)

9. Individuals whose entry would benefit the United States, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or their designees

To qualify for a Green Card and LPR status, a person must obtain an immigrant visa. Requirements for eligibility to become an LPR vary according to the immigrant category involved. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you determine your qualifications for a Green Card and other immigration options.

Contact a Chicago Green Card Lawyer for Help

If you need help with your Green Card, please contact our office. We can schedule an evaluation or attorney consultation to help you. Contact Godoy Law Office at 630-912-0322, our skilled Green Card immigration lawyers in Chicago, Lombard and Oak Brook can answer any questions about immigration and guide you through every step of the process.

Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. 

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