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Green and Spiegel U.S. Blog

Oct 15, 2021

For the Vaccinated, Travel Restrictions Will End on November 8th

The Biden Administration has designated November 8, 2021, as the official end of the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals. Noncitizens will be able to travel to the U.S. via land, sea, and air from November 8th onward. Follow-up information will be necessary as the specific requirements for testing and procedures for those who are not vaccinated is published. Learn more in this blog.

Sep 29, 2021

COVID-19 Delays at USCIS Extend Conditional Residency to 24 Months for Properly Filed Forms I-751 and I-829

In a statement released September 3, 2021, USCIS stated that it would extend the validity period for extensions of status for certain petitions to remove conditions of residency. Specifically, the agency is extending the time that receipt notices of properly filed Form I-751 (Petitions to Remove Conditions on Residence) or Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status) can be used to show evidence of status while their cases remain pending with USCIS.

Sep 21, 2021

By Mid-November, Those Who Have Been Fully Vaccinated Will Likely Be Free to Travel to the U.S. Without A COVID-19 Waiver

The Biden Administration is preparing to set aside the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals. By mid-November, many noncitizens may be able to travel to the U.S. with vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test. Foreign travelers who are not fully vaccinated will likely remain subject to Travel Restrictions and may find it more difficult to get COVID-19 waivers. Learn more.

Jun 22, 2021

UPDATE – A Return to International Travel?

On Friday, June 18th, as hoped, members of the European Union voted to add the United States to their list of countries to lift pandemic-related travel restrictions! Although this is an important step forward, please note that all travel restrictions for incoming US travel from Europe remain unchanged until further notice. Learn more in this blog.

Jun 16, 2021

Return to International Travel?

On June 16th, 2021, reports from the European Union suggest that they will recommend that member countries remove restrictions on non-essential travel for United States citizens, with a formal vote on same expected to occur on Friday, June 18th. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 7, 2021

H, L, J-Visa Holders No Longer Suspended from Entry into the United States but Most Noncitizens Remain Subject to Travel Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending H-1B, H-2B, J and L admissions, expired March 31, 2021. Ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) public health travel restrictions remain in place requiring travelers from certain areas to qualify for national interest exceptions. U.S. Consulates are still operating at reduced levels and will have to work through backlogs as the pandemic ends. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 29, 2021

USCIS Extends Flexible Response Times for Certain Filings in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 30, 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it was adopting measures to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) and other filings. USCIS announced that these same flexibilities have been extended for an indeterminate period of time. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 26, 2021

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease

On January 25, 2020, the Biden Administration extended the travel restrictions for Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Area, and Brazil and added travel restrictions for South Africa. Travel restrictions for South Africa go into effect on January 30, 2021 and the others are an extension of existing travel restrictions. The travel restrictions do not apply to a number of categories of Noncitizens and provide a waiver for the national interest. The policy does not contain procedures necessary to request national interest exceptions, likely leaving in place the procedures presently employed.

Jan 22, 2021

Biden Administration Changes to International Travel Policy Leaves People Wondering If the Travel Restrictions Will Remain

U.S. travel restrictions will be lifted unless the Biden Administration steps in. The White House says it will not lift the travel restrictions. COVID-19 testing and quarantine / isolation are not required for international travel. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 4, 2021

H-1B, L-1 Restrictions Extended through March 31, 2021

Late on December 31, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation continuing Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which suspended the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamations have been continued until March 31, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Dec 29, 2020

Employers Can Verify Form I-9 Identity and Work Authorization Remotely Through January 31, 2021

Whether the flexibilities are again extended or sunset on January 31, 2021 depends on a number of factors such as the impact on resurgent COVID-19 infection rates and the transition to the next federal executive administration. It does provide remedies for fully remote working enterprises and it may provide remedies for companies which are hybrid, companies which have some positions fully remote and others in-house. Such analyses are fact-dependent and we’re happy to help companies develop effective processes which meet management goals and necessities.

Dec 22, 2020

State Department Reverts to Phase 1 COVID-19 Guidelines as Cases Surge

The U.S. State Department announced on Monday, December 21, that it was reverting back to Phase 1 Covid-19 guidelines for the National Capital Region, which include limiting travel to mission critical trips and putting restrictions on the size of gatherings, according to a department-wide memo from Brian Bulatao, Under Secretary for Management. The plan is to return from Phase 2 guidelines to the more restrictive Phase 1 for almost a month. Learn more in this blog.

Dec 16, 2020

Holiday International Travel Update

With limited international flights and country-specific restrictions, leaving the United States may present issues up front. Ongoing travel restrictions, consular closings, visa suspensions, and other issues may hinder readmission to the United States. In particular, direct travel from mainland Europe, the UK/Ireland, Brazil, Iran, and mainland China to the United States remains very limited, and may require an exception. Certain H, L, and J Visas remain unavailable through the end of the year, and routine visa services continue to be sporadic and subject to cancellation. These restrictions may change in the coming weeks depending on COVID-19 developments in the United States and around the world.

Dec 10, 2020

Biden Administration: Expansion to the Ability of Physicians and Nurses to Obtain Permanent Residence and Reduction of H-1B Restrictions

Medical associations and hospitals are joining forces with immigration groups to advocate for legislation that will address the healthcare worker shortage by allowing unused immigrant visas to be allocated to highly skilled foreign workers: doctors and professional nurses. However, in order for this bill to pass a bipartisan solution must be reached.

Nov 19, 2020

Until the End of the Year, Employers Can Verify Form I-9 Identity and Work Authorization Remotely

The federal government has created “flexibility” protocols, designed to accomplish the Form I-9 goals remotely. It has extended the period companies can use those protocols until December 31, 2020. Learn more in this blog.

Oct 13, 2020

US and European Partners are Moving Towards Reopening Transatlantic Travel by Adopting New Pandemic Protocols

KEY POINTS: • Foreign nationals who wish to travel to the United States from Europe either must fit into one of the travel restriction exceptions or obtain advance permission to board a plane to the U.S. • In the alternative, they may travel to a third country and quarantine there for two weeks prior to coming to the United States. • The U.S. and overseas partners are anxious to relax those restrictions. Advanced COVID-19 airport testing may provide a solution. • We expect some testing of these technologies followed by the announcement of new travel protocols in time for the winter holidays.

Aug 19, 2020

State Department Waiver Guidance Further Opens the Door to the Return of Some of Our Foreign Workers

Foreign national employees of U.S. companies struggle to return to their employment because of Trump Administration travel restrictions. There are exemptions written into those restrictions but they have been difficult to access with closed consulates and embassies and a lack of guidance. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has begun issuing visas and consular services are becoming more available. August 12, 2020 guidance lays out approaches to getting exemptions to travel restrictions through U.S. consulates and embassies and may help people apply for exemptions through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Carefully framed requests for these exemptions is a remedy for some foreign workers seeking to work for U.S. employers.

Jul 24, 2020

USCIS Staves off the Axe... For Now

Patrick Leahy (U.S. Senator, VT) announced today that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is postponing a proposed furlough of employees through at least August 31, 2020 to provide Congress and the White House an opportunity to address its projected $571 million deficit. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 15, 2020

U.S. Consulates Begin Phased Resumption of Visa Services

Limited resumption on consulate-by-consulate basis, depending on local conditions. No timetable for universal reopening, resumption of normal workload, or availability of all services. Travel restrictions and visa suspensions still in place. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 8, 2020

M.I.T. and Harvard Sue the Trump Administration over Plan to Require In-Person Classes for International Students

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced plans to severely modify temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall semester forcing students enrolled in programs operating entirely online to depart the United States or transfer to another school in order to avoid deportation. Universities across the country were swift to criticize and decry this decision by the Trump administration; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) and Harvard have filed a lawsuit against them. Learn more in this blog.