Legalpad co-founder and COO, Sara Itucas, talks with Stilt founder and CEO, Rohit Mittal, about recent visa restrictions and what can be done by those applying or looking to apply for visas in the coming months.
Stilt is a fintech company that focuses on providing credit to immigrants and the underserved. They build products to improve financial inclusion and democratize access to the credit. Stilt is headquartered in San Francisco.
Rohit Mittal: Hi everyone, I'm Rohit. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Stilt and today we have Sara with us again from Legalpad. Hey Sara.
Sara Itucas: Hi everyone!
Rohit: Legalpad makes it easier and faster for startup founders and teams to get US work visas so that's what the
company does. Sara is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Legalpad. Today we'll talk about the latest Trump president trump visa ban. So on June 22nd I believe President Trump signed a continuation of a previous proclamation one 0014 banning or suspending the entry of aliens to the US. This was this one was mainly targeted at professional visa holders including H-1B, H-1B, jJ visa, L visa, and their companions. This is potentially going to impact hundreds of thousands of immigrants or visa holders moving to the US and Sara is going to help us make sense of it all and give us some tidbits on what visa holders can do in this type of situation. Tell us a little bit more about the proclamation itself how it came to be and and any additional details that you should know
Sara: The first step is it does extend the existing ban on a green card issuance basically an entry so entering as a green card holder it extends it up to December 31st 2020. It is important to note that if you already have a valid green card with you you can use that to enter it's really about for people who are getting their green cards through the consulate like going through the green card interview process at the consulate. That's really who it affects, and then also you know the June 22nd like proclamation it the part that got a lot of news coverage was that it restricted entry into the US through the end of the year basically for H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and certain J-1 categories including the dependents for all four of those that I just mentioned. It restricts the entry for all those people unless they already have a valid visa or advanced parole so advanced parole is the entry re-entry permit that you get when you're applying for your green card in conjunction with your like once you have an approved I-140 you can apply for the I-485 and then the one I-131 concurrently and that's the advanced parole piece. If you already have an approved I-131 then you're good to go
Rohit: Anything else that visa holder should know about this?
Sara: It's easily summed up for the fact that if you're outside of the US and you're you know for the H-1B part in particular because that's what we're here to talk about. You have a your H-1B visa stamp has expired you won't be able to get a new H-1B visa stamp and come back for the rest of 2020 according to this proclamation right. And you know there are already a lot of things in place that would have prevented this from happening anyway like the closure of the consulates. He won't be able to do a new visa interview to get that new visa sticker because conflicts aren't open right now and if you're outside of the US, like again, really important to reiterate you're outside of the US and your H-1B visa stamp is still valid you can come back in right, because you have a valid reason to come into the US. So that means like if you even if you have an H-1B visa stamp from a previous employer for example, like you have you just did an H-1B transfer but your H-1B visa stamp is still valid and it has your previous employer's name on it, you can still use that to come back into the US. You'll just need to have the approval notice for your approved H-1B transfer with you as you're entering the US.
Rohit: Is there a time frame for which your H-1B stamp needs to be valid before to allow you to move to the US? what if my H-1B is ending next month?
Sara: So it really depends. Without getting kind of too into the weeds or into the details it's important to distinguish between getting an agent like a visa stamp and getting your visa status right. So for example if you're an F-1 student in the US and you went through the lottery and you filed for something called a change of status you automatically get H-1B status on October 1st if it's approved, but you may not necessarily have a visa stamp in your passport because you can only get those abroad. So you have valid H-1B status but you won't be able to re-enter the us without a valid H-1B stamp because that stamp is your ticket to come into the US.
Rohit: If you're a different visa is approved you get that visa you get into that visa status but if you're outside the US that status will not help you come to the US unless it is like physically stamped on either your passport or you actually have an advanced parole card or something like that?
Sara: Yeah that's right and there's also another update that happened much more recently so if you're inside the US and your H-1B visa stamp has expired but it was still valid on June 24th 2020, you can travel internally and obtain an H-1B visa stamp to come back if consulates are open. So it's contingent on that. So this is actually came from a tweet from the department of state. If an individual is in the US on June 24th but left the US because their visa was expired they are not subject to the proclamation and can seek visa renewal before December 31st.
Rohit: Got it. And as of now, the the proclamation is only until the end of the year and at that time it will be reassessed?
Sara: That's right as far as we know right now.
Rohit: Let's go into a few questions that we got from Stilt to users and and some questions that you you guys see on Legalpad. The first one is from from a Stilt user who mentions that he went to India for his sister's wedding and his visa is currently under renewal and his current visa will expire in three months. Will he be able to come back to the US?
Sara: Yeah this is a great question and requires some clarification. So the reason why i mentioned is distinguished like distinguishing between a visa status and visa sticker this is particularly important for this question so if their visa status is under renewal so let's say that they have outlined a scenario. So if they if they have an H-1B with their company right now and what they're doing is filing for an extension and that person has a valid visa sticker in their passport they can still use that to re-enter the US because their visa hasn't expired yet. If you're renewing it then you probably did it in a timely manner i'm assuming. You still have that valid H-1B and you have that valid h1b sticker that acts as a ticket to come into the US. So that's fine. But if your visa sticker has expired but you still have a valid H-1B status you still really like you still need that visa sticker to come into the US. If you were in the US on June 24th but left due to the expiration of your visa you're not subject to the proclamation again just worth reiterating but you will still need to wait until consulates open back up to get that new visa sticker to come in.
Rohit: And as of now many consulates around the world are closed?
Sara: Yeah I mean the government plans on reopening the consulates in phases but you know, for people who don't have a valid visa stamp, you still won't be able to re-enter the US until the end of the year because of that proclamation.