Today President Trump signed an Executive Order prohibiting entry to the U.S. of certain nonimmigrants https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/.
This order goes into effect on June 24th at midnight and affects nonimmigrants who intend to enter the U.S. in the following visa categories:
(a) an H-1B or H-2B and any family member accompanying or following to join such alien;
(b) a J-1, to the extent they are participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any family member accompanying or following to join such alien; and
(c) an L-1 and any family member accompanying or following to join them.
Importantly, this order only affects those who are: (i) are outside the U.S. on the effective date of this proclamation (i.e. June 24, 2020); (ii) do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, 2020; and (3) do not have an official travel document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
The order does not apply to: (a) any lawful permanent resident of the United States. It is unclear why this provision is in the Order as a lawful permanent resident is by definition not a nonimmigrant and does not require a visa; (b) the spouse or child of a United States citizen; (3) any alien seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain; and (4) any alien whose entry to the U.S. would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees.
The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security will
establish standards to define categories of aliens whose entry is in the national interest including those that are: critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
Further, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to exempt foreign national children who would as a result of the suspension in this Order age out of eligibility for a visa.
An individual who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful
misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the
Department of Homeland Security.
**It seems that a nonimmigrant in the U.S. who has a valid visa may continue to travel abroad and return using the visa in their passport to reenter the U.S. However, as this order has just been published, we strongly advise individuals who may be affected not to travel abroad without first speaking with an attorney.