Open Data

Exemption for non-immigrant visas to covid related travel ban.

Current holders of valid non-immigrant visas who were outside of the US when the travel ban came into effect, on March 13 2020, are currently not allowed to return to the US. These individuals were considered, by the US government, sufficiently useful to the US economy to have been granted permission to work and live in the US for a short term, time limited period. The travel ban leaves them cut-off from their homes, work, health providers and schools.

They are unable to attend health screenings or continue ongoing treatments, maintain properties and vehicles, they are cut-off from most of the important aspects of their lives. This adds considerable stress to the already difficult situation caused by the covid pandemic. Those who have been trapped outside the US since the proclamations came into effect in March, have now been locked out of their lives for approaching 5 months, living out of a suitcase. With no sign of any change in sight it seems they will only be allowed once the ban is dropped for non-essential visitors like tourists.

This could easily be remedied with a small change to the text to include the holders of current, valid non-immigrant (L and H) visas and their families, in the list of exemptions declared in Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, and 9994. They would then be able to return to the US through one of the 15 hub airports setup for health screening and then after self-isolating for 14 days in their homes they could get back to their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Hopefully someone from DHS will escalate this to the relevant decision makers.

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Idea No. 1373