The State Department issued guidance Wednesday on national interest exceptions to President Donald Trump’s proclamation restricting the entry of foreign nationals on new nonimmigrant work visas.

Key Points:

  • The guidance makes entry to the United States possible for an H-1B, L-1A or L-1B visa holder who is continuing employment in the same position, with the same employer and in the same visa classification.
  • Alternatively, an applicant for an H-1B or L-1 visa may seek an exception on the basis that the employment meets economic recovery, critical infrastructure, or public health criteria.
  • Applicants who believe they qualify for an exception may contact the closest embassy or consulate to request a visa application appointment.

Background: President Trump issued the proclamation on June 22. The guidance the State Department released on Wednesday was drafted in order to more clearly define who would be eligible for an exception on the basis that their entry would be in the national interest.

BAL Analysis: The guidance will make it easier for H-1B and L-1 visa holders to enter the United States if they are returning to the same employer in the same position. Employers are encouraged to work with BAL in determining whether specific employees may be eligible for a national interest exception under the applicable scheme. BAL continues to monitor the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will alert clients to any significant changes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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