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The End of Trump’s Travel Bans

AILA Doc. No. 21033134 | Dated March 31, 2021

Sunsetting of Proclamation 10052

AILA has learned that on March 31, 2021, Presidential Proclamation 10052 (PP 10052) which suspended entry of certain nonimmigrants is expected to sunset. The proclamation was extended most recently to March 31, 2021 by former President Trump in Presidential Proclamation 10131 (PP 10131) issued on December 31, 2020.

While this is welcome news and an important step towards creating a welcoming America, members should prepare their clients for the fact that the expiration of PP 10052 will not likely result in immediate processing of their nonimmigrant visa applications. As AILA learns more about any resulting Department of State guidance issued on the processing of nonimmigrant visas in light of the expiration we will share it with members.

Current State of Consular Post Operations

The AILA DOS Liaison Committee has been working with several consular posts currently affected by the various travel bans to better understand how cases may be processed once the proclamations, including the COVID-19 country-specific, health ban are lifted, and posts begin to move towards offering a normal level of services. Many of the posts that AILA has spoken to in the Schengen, U.K., and Ireland area have made it clear that they will prioritize issuing immigrant visas (IVs).

While that does not necessarily mean that there will not be any nonimmigrant visa (NIV) issuance, AILA cautions members to set expectations with their clients in light of the expiration of PP 10052. The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact post operations and with many health-related bans still in place, will likely continue to impact posts’ ability to process cases.

AILA is working with both the Bureau of Consular Affairs and individual posts to gain a better understanding of the criteria for NIV issuance in the period immediately following the repeal of the travel bans. We do know, however, that the end of the current travel bans does not mean that appointment availability – for IV or NIV cases – will be back to a pre-COVID-19 level. AILA is also aware that the National Visa Center currently has approximately 500,000 documentarily qualified IV cases that are ready to be sent to post on a first-in-first-out-basis. This backlog appears to be one of the main factors for focusing posts’ currently limited resources on IV issuance.

Status of National Interest Exceptions for under COVID-19 Health Related Bans for Countries Other than Schengen Area, Ireland, and U.K.

AILA is aware of concerns from members for clients from nations outside of the Schengen Area, U.K., and Ireland countries regarding what National Interest Exception (NIE) guidance posts will follow after PP 10052 has expired. Currently the Schengen Area, Ireland, U.K countries are the only region with specific criteria for obtaining an NIE. As the other health-related bans do not list specific NIE guidance, members have utilized the NIE guidance under PP 10052.

AILA has raised the issue with the Department of State and requested that it release additional guidance to address the confusion. AILA has not heard that the sunsetting of PP 10052 will impact the common definition of what has been considered in the National Interest for those countries subject to health-related travel bans. However, AILA will provide more information as it becomes available.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21033134.

David Swaim
Managing Partner – Dallas Texas
David Swaim & Associates