Breakdown of President Trump’s executive order to suspend immigration into the United States

By Darius Amiri, Chair of Immigration Department at Rose Law Group

On April 20, 2020, President Trump tweeted that he would be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During a press briefing on April 21, 2020, President Trump announced: “This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency, in other words, those receiving green cards.” He noted that the order “will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis” and that “the pause will be in effect for 60 days” with the possibility of a later extension or modification.

Late April 22, 2020, President Trump signed the Executive Order as the details were made known to the public. Here is a breakdown of what the Order entails and its effect on U.S. Immigration, as well as some background on recent changes on our immigration system prior to the issuance of the Executive Order that are still in effect.

Background Facts

  • Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended as of March 20, 2020. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. The Department of State (DOS) intends to continue to process visa applications for farm workers and medical professionals assisting with COVID-19.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, including in-person interviews and biometrics processing. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public and will provide emergency services for limited in-person situations.
  • The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are closed for non-essential travel until at least May 20, 2020.
  • With some exceptions, the entry of individuals who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, during the 14-day period before their attempted entry into the United States has also been suspended.
  • Despite these limitations, USCIS continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.


  • There will be a complete halt on all immigration into the United States. This is NOT THE CASE.
    • Based on a reading of the Executive Order, new immigration into the United States is suspended for 60 days for some categories of people who are not currently in the U.S.

Who is Included?

  • People outside of the United States at the time of the issuance of the order, who do not already have a U.S. Visa as of April 24, 2020.

Who is Not Included?

  • Spouses and Children under 21 of United States Citizens
  • Applicants for Green Cards who are already in the United States
  • US military members, spouses and children
  • Lawful permanent residents, or green card holders
  • Medical professionals and scientists and researchers working on COVID-19
  • EB-5 Investors, National Interest Visa Applicants
  • SI or SQ Special immigrant categories
  • Adoptees in the IR-4[1] or IH-4 Categories[2]

What Our Office Is Doing

We are closely monitoring the situation and will reach out to clients who might be affected by the anticipated Executive Order as soon as we know more.

[1]IR-4 Visa issued to a child coming to the USA to be adopted

[2] IH-4 visa:  Issued when a child is coming to the United States from a Hague Convention country to be adopted