EAH Immigration Blog

USCIS Ends Biometrics Requirement for Extension/Change of Status for H-4, L-2, E Visas

USCIS has temporarily suspended the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, requesting an extension of stay or a change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing...
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New USCIS Policy Announcements Expected to Benefit Applicants

Effective June 9, USCIS announced new policies on expedited processing, Requests for Evidence (RFEs), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), and employment authorization documents. These policies seek to alleviate the negative impact of application process delays and offer applicants additional opportunities to request that their applications be expedited. In addition, the...
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Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Creates Major Setback for TPS Recipients Seeking Permanent Residence

On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimous held in Sanchez v. Mayorkas that a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) does not qualify as being “admitted and inspected” for purposes of adjustment of status. Prior to this decision, federal circuit courts were split on the issue. Accordingly, many TPS recipients...
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News in Brief

TPS for Venezuelans: DHS has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, effective 3/9/21 through 9/9/22. The notice also provides information about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and DED-related EADs for eligible Venezuelans. TPS Extended for Syria: USCIS announced the extension of the designation of Syria for TPS for...
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Certain Regulatory Requirements Suspended for Syrian and Venezuelan F-1 Nonimmigrant Students

Effective April 22, the DHS will provide relief to Syrian and Venezuelan citizens who are in the United States as lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status. DHS has recognized that due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria and the current humanitarian crises in Venezuela, F-1 nonimmigrant students...
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111 Hits

Flexibilities Announced for Certain F-1 Applicants Filing for OPT

USCIS has experienced delays at certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Form I‐765 for optional practical training (OPT) for F‐1 students. These delays are due to COVID‐19 restrictions, a dramatic increase in filings of certain benefit requests, postal service volume and delays, and other external factors. In an effort to...
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137 Hits

Bill Passes Virginia State Legislature Expanding Jurisdiction for Special Immigrant Juvenile Cases

On March 18, 2021, Virginia passed legislation allowing for juvenile and family courts to retain jurisdiction of matters where a child has petitioned the court to make findings that would allow them to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) before the age of 21. The law goes into effect on...
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President Biden Keeps Refugee Numbers at Record Lows Due to Political Pressure

On April 16, 2021, President Biden signed an order limiting U.S. refugee admissions to 15,000 despite previously promising to increase the refugee admissions to 62,500 in this fiscal year and promising in February to raise the admissions rate to 125,000. This cap on admissions matches President Trump’s historical low in 2020,...
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274 Hits

DOS Provides Information on National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for Regional COVID Proclamations

On April 8, 2021, the DOS announced that the travel of immigrants, fiancé(e) visa holders, certain exchange visitors, and pilots/aircrew traveling for training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance is in the national interest for purposes of approving exceptions under the geographic proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19. These proclamations restrict the...
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H, L, and J Visa Processing Resumes; Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expires

Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance....
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318 Hits

COVID and Telecommuting Implications on Immigration Compliance

COVID-19 has led to a shift by employers toward more permissive telecommuting policies. Given that certain regulations in both the H-1B and PERM contexts are location-specific, compliance is not always apparent.  For F-1 foreign students, issues have arisen due to online and in-person study. Telecommuting in the H-1B Context All H-1B...
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290 Hits

All Immigrants are Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States

On April 19, 2021, all adult persons in the United States are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of nationality or immigration status, including undocumented immigrants. The vaccines are free for all recipients, even those who do not have medical insurance. Each of the available vaccines for distribution in the United States...
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306 Hits

USCIS to Defer to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in Requests for Petition Extensions

For more than a dozen years, USCIS directed its officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as an initial petition or application. The deference policy was most often exercised in the context of extensions of Form I-129 work-related visa...
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News in Brief

USCIS Extends Premium Processing to E-3 Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions:  Effective February 24, petitioners filing a nonimmigrant visa petition requesting a change or extension of status to E-3 classification will have the option to request premium processing service for their petition. The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia who...
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451 Hits

Educational Requirements for Naturalization Restored to 2008 Version

USCIS updated guidance in its Policy Manual regarding the educational requirements for naturalization. The update, effective 3/1/21, provides that USCIS will revert to administering the 2008 civics test to applicants who filed for naturalization before 12/1/20, or who will file on or after 3/1/21. In the waning days of the Trump...
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U.S. Citizenship Act and Dreamers Act Introduced in Congress

On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was formally introduced in both houses of Congress. If passed, the bill would bring citizenship to millions of foreign nationals and drastically reform the immigration system. In addition to providing a roadmap to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)...
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384 Hits

OIG Report on DOJ’s “Zero-Tolerance Policy”: Simply Appalling

In January, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General issued its report on the agency’s planning and implementation of its “zero-tolerance policy” for immigration offenses involving illegal entry and attempted illegal entry into the United States. The policy was announced and led by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April 2018....
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CBP Ports Resume Accepting NIEs for Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, and Brazil

In late January 26, several CBP Ports of Entry (POEs at LAX, BWI, and EWR) indicated that they no longer had the authority to approve National Interest Exception (NIEs) related to the COVID-19 country-specific, health-related travel restrictions imposed on the Schengen Area, the U.K., Ireland, and Brazil recently maintained by the...
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USCIS Announces New Process for Green Card Extension While I-90 Is Pending

USCIS has implemented a new process extending green cards during the pendency of an I-90 application. Instead of issuing extension stickers at USCIS field offices, USCIS will issue a revised receipt notice for Form I-90 that extends the validity of green card for 12 months (12 months from the expiration date...
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Consular Processed Immigrant Visas: Backlog of 380,000 Waiting to Immigrate

The suspension of most legal immigration processing outside of the U.S., combined with staffing shortages and logistical challenges related to the pandemic at U.S. consulates around the world, has left hundreds of thousands of otherwise eligible visa applicants in limbo, and experts warn that the backlog could take years to resolve....
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926 Hits