200422 greencard
The US green card is a permanent residency card. Image Credit: iStockphoto

DUBAI: The 60-day immigration ban announced by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday will impact only those seeking a permanent residency in that country, an immigration consultant in the UAE has clarified.

Syed Jafar, General Manager, Cosmos Immigration

Speaking to Gulf News in the wake of several queries being raised on the ramifications of the announcement, Dubai-based Syed Jafar, General Manager, Cosmos Immigration, said, “As Trump himself has pointed out, this immigration pause will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency. In other words, those receiving green cards.”

The green card is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence of being granted permanent residency. Individuals with green cards, also known as lawful permanent residents or green card holders, are entitled to apply for US citizenship on the fulfillment of certain criteria.

What about tourists, students, H1-B visa holders?

Jafar said the ban does not apply to those entering the US on a temporary basis.

He said it does not affect tourist or non-immigrant visas, although there are many travel restrictions from several countries that are in place. These travel bans are likely to continue for some more time, he said, adding, the US has already stopped the processing of visas, including interviews for visa applications, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

More on US immigration

“Students have to be patient regarding upcoming intakes,” he said, pointing to how e-learning and international travel bans have impacted the normal course of things in the short run.

Based upon Tuesday’s announcement, it was also evident that professionals with temporary visas like H-1B would not be affected, he added.

The United States Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the United States Consulate General in Dubai on March 17 cancelled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments, with its website saying, “We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time.”

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the embassy and consulate are processing only emergency services to US citizens.