The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indefinitely extended its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for non-US travelers entering the country from Canadian and Mexican land and ferry borders. The restriction will remain in effect until DHS announces that it has ended.
The PERM labor certification process is required to sponsor a foreign national worker for a permanent position in the United States. During this pre-recorded presentation, our Chugh, LLP immigration experts share a general overview of the three main components required during the PERM labor certification process.
The Biden Administration is expected to restrict travel from India due to the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases and new variants in the country. The policy is a direct response to recommendations from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and is expected to go into effect on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 12:01 AM Eastern Time. Travelers who have been physically present in India during the last 14 days will have until Monday, May 3 to enter the United States before the ban goes into effect.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend all in-person services at their field offices, application support centers, and asylum offices on January 19 and 20, 2021. The closures are an effort to protect the agency’s employees and individuals with appointments during presidential inauguration events.
Airline passengers aged two and older must show either proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery to enter the United States from any foreign country, effective January 26, 2021. Airlines will deny entry to individuals who fail to provide this proof when boarding their flight to the United States. Those who do not comply with the order are subject to criminal penalties.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is experiencing delays in scheduling and rescheduling biometrics appointments at its application support centers (ASCs). USCIS is working to maximize ASC capacity and reuse previously collected biometrics where legally permissible. The agency has not rescheduled all cancelled appointments and wait times may vary based on geography.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended its remote Form I-9 document verification policy through September 19, 2020 to help employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this policy, employers do not have to verify new Form I-9- employment eligibility documentation in the employee’s physical presence until September 19, 2020, or within three days of the COVID-19 national emergency’s end, whichever comes sooner.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced how it will implement Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. USCIS will reject all applications from foreign nationals who have never received DACA and return their application fees. These individuals may reapply for DACA without prejudice if this policy is overturned in the future. USCIS will continue to accept DACA applications from people who have received DACA before.
At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, F and M students could take classes remotely. This allowed schools to maintain social distancing protocols while students could continuously maintain their immigration status in the US. On July 26, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enacted policy requiring international students to leave the United States if their courses were fully online for the fall 2020 semester. After multiple lawsuits, DHS rescinded the policy for existing students only on July 14, 2020.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a recent suspension of the Department of Homeland Security’s public charge rule during the COVID-19 pandemic only applies within the Second Circuit, which includes the states of Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may still enforce the public charge rule in every other US state and the District of Columbia. This ruling does not impact the Department of State (DOS), which is still barred from implementing their public charge rule nationwide based on a separate lawsuit, Make the Road New York, et a. v. DOS. While each agency’s public charge rule varies, both penalize foreign nationals who use certain public benefits.
Under the Trump Administration, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is closely scrutinizing visa petitions and issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) that can seem templated and randomized. L-1 intracompany transferee visas are targeted the most, with high rates of denial and over 60% of L-1 petitions receiving RFEs. Work with an experienced immigration attorney to overcome these barriers and effectively sponsor your L-1 employees.
The Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are temporarily restrained from enforcing public charge rules during the COVID-19 national health emergency, based on a ruling by Judge George Daniels of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 29, 2020. This order is effective nationwide, at any time when there is a national health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Homeland Security has clarified that new or initial F and M students may not engage in fully online learning for Fall 2020. The US Department of State will not issue new visas to these students, and US Customs and Border Protection will not admit them into the country. Foreign nationals who have been granted a change of status to an F or M visa may not be permitted to engage in fully online studies and may violate their status if they do so in Fall 2020.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Joseph Edlow has confirmed that the agency will postpone furloughs of more than 13,000 of its workers through August 31, 2020. Previously, the furlough was set for August 3. USCIS is hoping that this delay will give Congress enough time to approve the additional funding needed to help the agency avoid furloughing their staff.
On July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that F and M student visa holders will no longer be eligible for valid nonimmigrant status if they are enrolled in fully online courses for the fall 2020 semester.
On June 4, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin reopening some field offices and application support centers (ASCs) to the public and resume non-emergency face-to-face services. USCIS offices were temporarily closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
USCIS will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. They will establish measures to protect their workforce and the public when facilities reopen.
Effective March 20, 2020, Premium Processing has been suspended for ALL types of Form I-129 petitions (H/L/O/R/TN etc.) and I-140 petitions, including H-1B cap petitions. This is a very important development affecting petitioners who use the premium program. The Premium Processing program is an important source of revenue for the USCIS as petitioners paid nearly $545 million in premium processing fees during FY-2019.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided guidance for nonimmigrants who have to unexpectedly remain in the US beyond their authorized period of stay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that there will be a delay in data entry and receipt notices for fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap petitions. Petitioners will not get their receipt notices until May 1, 2020 at the earliest.
US citizens in India have been able to return to the United States due to a nationwide COVID-19 shelter in place order. The US Mission to India has organized flights from India to the United States this week specifically for US citizens.
Existing Department of Labor (DOL) policy allows H-1B employers to provide electronic notices of Labor Condition Application (LCA) filing rather than physically post notices at the applicable worksite. This reminder is especially critical as many employees are working from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics to process extension requests for employment authorization (Form I-765) during the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be flexible with delays from applicants and petitioners who are required to respond to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.
The US Department of State (DOS) is encouraging medical professionals who are working to treat or mitigate the effects of the coronavirus and who also hold approved immigrant or nonimmigration visa petitions (I-129, I-140, etc.), or certificates of eligibility from an approved visitor exchange program (DS-2019), to review their nearest embassy or consulate’s DOS website page for procedures on how to request a visa appointment.
The Indian government has enacted a curfew to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), effective from March 24 through April 15, 2020. While the exact requirements of the curfew are still unclear, the country has currently banned leaving one’s home. US citizens in India are required to comply with Indian law and should shelter in place.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2020 that it will exercise discretion and temporarily defer the physical presence requirement for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for certain employers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it may offer forms of relief for certain foreign nationals who have missed immigration deadlines or are facing hardship due to extreme situations, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Expedited processing may be available.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak leads to increased remote work arrangements, employers are left unsure how to fulfill site-based H-1B and PERM requirements. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require employers to notify employees at a specific worksite when they are filing a H-1B petition or application for permanent labor certification.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the border between the United States and Canada has closed to all non-essential travel starting, Friday, March 20, 2020, at 11:59 PM at each border crossing’s local time. The international border will remain open for essential travel, but non-essential travel will be restricted until at least Monday, April 20.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the agency will accept a reproduced original signature on all benefit forms and documents, including Form I-129 petitions, for submissions starting March 21, 2020 until the end of the coronavirus National Emergency.
USCIS formally announced that the public charge ground of inadmissibility will not apply to foreign nationals who seek testing, screening, or treatment of any communicable disease, including the coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, USCIS will take into consideration circumstances where a foreign national is prevented from working or attending school due to the coronavirus and must rely on public benefits during the outbreak.
Effective immediately, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend requests for premium processing service for all Form I-129 and Form I-140 petitions until further notice.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is suspending routine in-person services until April 1, 2020, or until further notice, effective immediately. This includes biometrics appointments, adjustment of status and naturalization interviews, and oath ceremonies for naturalization.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will temporarily suspend requests for premium processing of fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap petitions when it begins to accept petitions on April 1, 2020.
US Consulates in Mexico and Canada are suspending operations due to coronavirus.
US embassies and consulates in India will cancel all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments effective March 16, 2020 until further notice due to the coronavirus.
The government of India has issued travel and visa restrictions due to the coronavirus that will become effective March 13, 2020 until April 15, 2020, or until further notice. All incoming travelers may be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days upon their arrival to India.