State Department Returns to Issuing Visas for H-1B Holders in India

Travel bans will no longer be allowed to be used as a reason not to issue or process visas. This includes H-1Bs, which are non-immigrant visas.

This ruling will make a lot of people with H-1B visas and their families very happy.  Some of these family members were left in India, unable to return to the United States after visiting family members.

Also, individuals who were allotted an H1-B due to the lottery were unable to get their visas processed.  The travel bans were imposed under President Trump and President Biden. This caused visa processing to come to a stop, and no non-immigrant visas were processed unless someone could use the national interest exception, which was difficult.

Non-immigrants who had been in India within 14 days before their attempted entry or entry into the United States had restrictions on entering the U.S. as of April 30th because of a proclamation made by President Biden. However, these restrictions did not apply to green-card holders.

A number of people, some of whom were Indian nationals, sued the Department of State due to these restrictions claiming that their careers were in danger since they could not return to their jobs. The lawsuit also states that these people have suffered stress as well as additional expenses while waiting on the Department of State to begin processing non-immigrant visas again. The lawsuit claims that the Department of State will not process any non-immigrant visas or even schedule interviews. Consular officials are also not allowed to process their visas unless they can claim an exemption. This is true even if the consulates are open and have the capacity to process the visas.

The United States Department of State has not been ordered to adjudicate this suit, but they are no longer allowed to use the travel ban as a reason for not processing visas. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs claims this is a big win because it not only helps his clients but stops the current interpretation of the travel ban as well. The attorney also hopes that the decision will stop future presidents from doing this as well. Another one of the attorneys stated that they were happy that the judge ruled that it was against federal law to refuse to continue issuing visas and that he wanted the state department to start reissuing visas regardless of the entry ban.

This is great news for employers who lost H-1B workers in India. However, for those looking to hire new H-1B workers as the government begins allowing foreign workers again, they will need to file Form I-9 for these foreign workers. This can be a challenging task, and the best way to handle it is with electronic I-9 management software. This can make it much easier to manage the many steps involved consistently and properly maintain them for review at any time.