covid19

US No Longer Requires a Negative COVID-19 Test for International Air Travelers

The United States government will no longer require international air travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight to the US. International travelers departing from their point of origin on or after June 12, 2022, at 12:01 AM EDT will no longer have to submit a negative COVID-19 test pre-departure when arriving to the United States from a foreign country.

President Biden Plans to Impose New COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for India

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.

ICE Extends Remote Form I-9 Verification Policy through November 19

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.

USCIS Announces Implementation of New Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy

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.

The Evolution of United States Immigration Policy for International Students during COVID-19

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.

Court Rules that Department of Homeland Security May Resume Enforcement of the Public Charge Rule in Most States

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.

USCIS PREPARING TO RESUME IN-PERSON SERVICES ON JUNE 4

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.

H1-B Workers: Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

The United States is experiencing high rates of unemployment due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic is particularly challenging for H-1B workers and their employers, since H-1B workers generally cannot collect unemployment insurance benefits if their position is terminated. This is because H-1B visas are tied to a specific employer. H-4 dependents, however, may be eligible for unemployment benefits in some states.

Staying Afloat: Temporary Relief for Landlords in the Face of COVID-19

Although nearly everyone has been impacted in some way by the public health crisis and the economic disruptions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, landlords are especially disadvantaged. Landlords are faced with a difficult economic and moral dilemma: how to stay afloat given their own liabilities when their tenants are unable to make rent payments. Luckily, various forms of relief are available to landlords.

USCIS to Temporarily Allow Delayed Responses for Requests for Evidence and Notices

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), notices of intent to deny (NOIDs), notices of intent to revoke (NOIR), notices of intent to terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers and notice of appeal or motion (Form I-290B) dated between March 1 and July 1, 2020.

Insurance Coverage Available to Protect Businesses Amid COVID-19

In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the related economic fallout, revenue losses are proliferating across different industries while business owners look to extrinsic solutions to stay afloat. Many businesses may find such relief through insurance claims and related litigation. New policies will likely exclude COVID-19. However, businesses may already have many types of insurance coverage that can provide relief during the pandemic.  

Before Breaking a Commercial Lease Due to COVID-19, Tenants Should Try Applying Doctrines of Commercial Frustration or Force Majeure

It has become difficult, costly, or even impossible for some businesses to maintain contractual obligations, like commercial leases, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Luckily for business owners, the doctrines of commercial frustration and force majeure may allow them to rescind leases without penalty if unforeseeable circumstances make it impossible for them to operate under the stated purpose of their lease.

USCIS Suspends Premium Processing Due to COVID-19

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.

Employer Toolbox: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has prompted the federal government to enact the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to protect Americans against a significant economic impact. The FFCRA provides separate benefits to employers if they intend to maintain their workforce, or if they decide to reduce staff. Employees are protected if they are experiencing symptoms or need to care for another that has indications of COVID-19.

Child Custody and Visitation Rights During COVID-19

The global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19, known more commonly as the Coronavirus is affecting every aspect of everyday life for individuals all over the world. As if child custody exchanges were not an issue during normal times already, the Coronavirus, is here to add to our child custody exchanges. Coronavirus is now impacting the daily lives of families all over the country in unprecedented ways.

Mass Layoffs and Plant Closings Under the WARN Act

When facing mass reduction in workforce, employers need to comply with the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act ( and respective State WARN Acts.

The main objective of the WARN Act is to protect employees and their families and in a broader perspective the entire community by making it mandatory for employers  to give a 60-day notice to those employees who will be effected by the plant closing and mass layoffs as also to state and local representatives, prior to the closing and layoffs.

25 Strategies that will Help you Right Now

Our unique and beautiful planet is witnessing an event of the millennium. How we live, work, eat, breathe, and take care of each other has transformed in haste. The economic, social, political, and health related fallout from this virus will reverberate for some time to come. The safety of everyone and taking care of those affected is paramount right now. As a firm, alleviating your concerns during this time is most important to us. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. We know that we’re going to get through this, together. There is a tremendous amount of help out there, please take full advantage of it. As part of going through this together, we have assembled a list of 24 strategies that will help you right now:

COVID-19 Impact on IT Service Companies: ANswering your Most Pressing Legal, Tax, Immigration, Government Financial Assistance, and Employment Questions

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic leads to new legislation, businesses must rapidly adapt to the changing business landscape and understand how policy impacts their day-to-day.

Join Chugh, LLP’s experienced attorneys and CPAs for guidance on how to navigate this complicated legal, immigration, tax, and government stimulus environment together on this webinar, recorded on Monday, March 30, 2020.

US State Department Issues Guidance for Medical Professionals on Visas

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.

US Citizens in India: Complying with India’s COVID-19 Curfew

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.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

President Trump signed the temporary Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020. FFCRA is designed to provide relief in the form of paid and job protected sick leave for those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). The current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been expanded to include leave under FFCRA. FFCRA will be effective within 15 days and will expire on December 31, 2020.

US-Canadian Border Closed to All Non-Essential Travel

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.

USCIS will be Flexible with Submitting Required Signatures

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 to Exempt Foreign Nationals from Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Resulting from the Coronavirus

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.

Coronavirus & Force Majeure: What Businesses Need to Know

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted normal business operations all over the world. As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus as a pandemic. In light of this pandemic, many businesses are unable to perform some of their contractual obligations. Some are stuck with suppliers who are unable to deliver due to factory closures, while others must cancel mass events due to curfews or limitations on group gatherings. In challenging times like these, a key contractual provision is the force majeure clause, which allows one or both parties to be relieved of their contractual obligations based on unforeseen events. Given the increase in international force majeure cases, it is a critical time for businesses to review all their contracts to understand the various force majeure clauses at play.

USCIS Suspends in-Person Services Due to the Coronavirus

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.

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