Startup founders from certain countries face stricter barriers to entering the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But immigration experts say a series of developments, including a recent policy reversal by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has made it easier for immigrants already in the country to stay.
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The Biden administration’s pandemic-induced travel restrictions for certain countries has made it more difficult for entrepreneurs from those countries to qualify for national interest exceptions — a Trump-era requirement for a visa — that would allow them to come to the U.S., according to Sergei Pershman, founder of immigration law firm Pershman Law. And with consulates closed or operating with limited hours, it’s more difficult for those entrepreneurs to have their visas stamped.
“This could go away in a matter of weeks or could stay there for months,” Pershman said.
The national interest exception, which shows that a person qualifies for a visa and it’s in the national interest that they come to the U.S., was introduced under the Trump administration. It applies to employment-based visas such as the O-1 and H-1 visas.
But the Biden administration has made it more difficult for entrepreneurs from certain countries to meet the qualifications because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those countries include the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the European Schengen…