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H-1B visa holders' spouses, dependents exempted from travel restrictions; can return to US

What this essentially means is that if the principal beneficiary i.e., the H-1B visa holder is currently in the US, then his/her family who is outside the country can apply for H-1 visas and return to the country

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 25, 2020 | Updated 11:45 IST
H-1B visa holders' spouses, dependents exempted from travel restrictions; can return to US
Trump administration has tweaked its June 22 order allowing spouses and dependents of these visa holders to enter the US

H-1B visa holders' spouses and dependents who are presently stranded in India will be given permission to travel back to the United States (US), the Trump administration said in an update.

They are exempted from the US government's June 22 decree that temporarily suspended employment-based visas because of the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What this essentially means is that if the principal beneficiary i.e., the H-1B visa holder is currently in the US, then his/her family who is outside the country can apply for H-1 visas and return to the country.

The executive order, signed by US President Donald Trump, suspended the entry of those holding H-1B, L-1, and other temporary work permit visas to the country until December 31, 2020. The move was part of the US government's efforts to curb immigration and help boost local employment in the country.

Also Read: H-1B visa ban: Nasscom unhappy with Trump's work visa freeze

But the Trump administration has tweaked the order allowing spouses and dependents of these visa holders to enter the US, The Economic Times reported.

However, as per the updated proclamation, anyone holding an H-1B, H4, J1, and H2A visa who did not have a valid visa as of June 24 would not be permitted to travel to the country until December 31.

Furthermore, those who want to apply for the said visas can do so only when the US Embassy and consulates open in India.

They have been closed since March following a government-imposed lockdown in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The US Embassy and consulates in India haven't reopened yet and are presently not processing any visa applications.

Also Read: Donald Trump suspends H1B, H4 visas for rest of 2020

As per the exemption list issued by the US government, only certain H and J visa applicants will be given exemption from the ban. The state will only allow those "traveling to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy objective (such as COVID-19 response) and/or traveling at the request of the U.S. government", according to the the news report.

The proclamation was amended soon after a US law firm, Wasden Banias, filed a lawsuit on behalf of 174 Indians challenging the travel ban order. Over 1,000 people are currently stuck in India due to the embassy closures in March and subsequent international travel ban to boot.

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