Biden overturns Trump ban on green card applicants
Presidential Proclamation 100014 was issued last year by former President Donald Trump, who cited a need to protect US jobs amid high unemployment rates caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It effectively blocked immigration and limited access to the US, even if individuals had family members in the country.
Biden overturned the measure through an executive order, saying the ban tore apart families and "does not advance the interests of the United States".
"To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here," the White House said on Wednesday in a statement.
Immigration to the United States was suspended on April 22, 2020, for an initial period of 60 days. Trump later signed a new order that extended the freeze and additionally blocked various work visas.
Also known as the "travel ban", the measure meant that no foreigners - except for Green Card holders and some family members - were allowed to enter the US.
Trump justified this decision arguing that it would lead to a recovery of the US labour market. However, many American businessmen opposed this view.
The US will now face a backlog of hundreds of thousands of visa applicants. Immigrant advocates had pressed in recent weeks for Biden to lift the visa ban, which was set to automatically expire on 31 March.
Since taking office on 20 January, Biden has reversed many of Trump's hard-line immigration policies, including the so-called "Muslim ban" and a policy that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their applications were processed.
Biden also promoted a new bill unveiled this month that offered a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people who live in the US.
However, he has not yet repealed a ban on most foreign guest workers that affected hundreds of thousands of US businesses.