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What Does the U.S. Suspension of Green Cards Mean to Canada?

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Cross-Border Business and U.S. Immigration and Coronavirus - COVID

What Does the U.S. Suspension of Green Cards Mean to Canada?

On April 22, 2020, United States President Trump signed an Executive Order suspending issuance of green cards (permanent lawful residence) for 60 days due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic and resulting economic and labor crisis. The proclamation states the goal of the immigration suspension is to aid the economic recovery and reduce the U.S.'s current high rate of unemployment due to business shutdowns related to the national emergency social distancing requirement.

Over 20 million Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, and President Trump has stated his goal in temporarily suspending all immigration is to protect American Jobs.

The U.S. executive order stipulates that the suspension of Green Cards does not apply to:

(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

(ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees;

(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;

(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;

(v) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee.

USCIS and U.S. Embassies worldwide have been closed since March 18, 2020, which has caused tremendous delays in processing immigration cases. USCIS/Embassies are rescheduled to resume normal operations on May 3, subject to an extension.

Canadians Impacted by Green Card Suspension

Essential Business Travel
The U.S. / Canada borders remain open to essential business travel. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says travel through land ports of entry and ferry terminals along the United States / Canada border will remain open to essential business travel.

Work Permits
Both Canada and U.S. immigration offices are open and processing immigration applications during the coronavirus restrictions, but processing is delayed. Canadians who are

  • applying for NAFTA or other United States work permits that are considered "essential"
  • determined to be "important" to U.S. objectives
  • U.S. investor immigrants
  • married to a U.S. citizen

    are not impacted by the United States 60 day immigration suspension.

    If you have questions about cross-border business, your immigration application, your eligibility for your or your team to cross the U.S. / Canada border on business, or other immigration issues during the coronavirus restrictions or for post-restriction business, contact Ackah Law today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email [email protected].


    Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

    Founder/Managing Lawyer

    Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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