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Green and Spiegel U.S. Blog

Apr 21, 2021

DHS Has Announced an Additional 22,000 Visas for the H-2B Visa Program

After considerable pressure from small business owners and H-2B industry supporters, DHS has agreed to release an additional 22,000 H-2B visas, with 6,000 of those visas being earmarked for workers from Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). According to DHS, employers wishing to obtain workers through this visa release will have to conduct additional advertising, and explain how their businesses will suffer without these workers. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 13, 2021

F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

On April 12. 2021 USCIS announced that F-1 students can now file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization online when applying for Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a 24-month OPT STEM extension. 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.

Mar 23, 2021

U.S. Restrictions on Travel from Canada to the United States

Restrictions on U.S. – Canadian border travel will continue for at least another month. It is possible to fly from Canada to the United States. Those flying into the U.S. must have a COVID-19 test and may need advance permission. Learn more in this blog.

Mar 10, 2021

The End of the Public Charge Rule

The Biden Administration announced it will no longer support or defend appellate challenges to theUnited States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (“USCIS”) public charge rule. The public charge rule, previously announced by USCIS in 2019, states that a foreign national may be denied admission to the United States or adjustment of status to that of a Lawful Permanent Resident if they have received government-issued public benefits such as cash or medical assistance. The rule was clearly a thinly veiled attempt by the prior administration to deny immigration benefits to low-income individuals.

Mar 9, 2021

Biden Administration Grants TPS to Venezuelans

The Biden Administration has announced that it will offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to an estimated 300,000 Venezuelans living in the United States. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced the designation on behalf of the Administration, authorizing TPS for eighteen months, or until September of 2022. Learn more in this blog.

Mar 5, 2021

The U.S. Secretary of State Has Implemented Significant New Travel Restrictions That Affect Primarily Business Travelers

Takeaways: On March 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) implemented more restrictive policies, generally barring business travelers who have been in Ireland, the Schengen Area, and the U.K. Obtaining National Interest Exceptions (“NIE”) to those travel restrictions is likely to be far more difficult and time-consuming. Quarantining in a third country continues to be a good alternative to applying for an NIE.

Mar 1, 2021

USCIS Extends Flexibilities to F-1 Students Filing for OPT

On February 26, 2021 USCIS announced flexibilities for certain F-1 students in the filing of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD) for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is due to the substantial delays in issuing receipt notices at certain USCIS lockboxes where these applications are filed. These flexibilities only apply to I-765 forms received by USCIS on or after October 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 25, 2021

Biden Administration Lifts Suspension of Immigrant Visa Issuance

On February 24, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a Presidential Proclamation that reversed President Trump’s EO that, for more than 10 months, has prevented many foreign nationals physically outside the United States from obtaining an Immigrant Visa which, upon issuance and admission to the United States, would automatically convert the individual to a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”). Passed under the guise of protecting the U.S. workforce since LPRs are permitted to accept any and all forms of employment, in effect, the ban served to keep close family members of U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, diversity visa lottery winners, key employees, and others from obtaining the Immigrant Visa that would permit them to assume LPR status. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 24, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: USCIS Extends Premium Processing for E-3 Australian Specialty Worker Petitions

On February 24, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would immediately provide the option of Premium Processing for petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting a change or extension of status to E-3 classification, which applies only to Australian nationals coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee of $2500 to ensure a government response within fifteen days. Until now, this service was not available for the E-3 category. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 23, 2021

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to “Public Charge Rule”

On February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments and determine the legality of the Trump Administration’s immigration rule that bars individuals from receiving residency if they previously received public benefits. The rule is commonly referred to as the “public charge rule.” Legal challenges to the rule have wound their way through the federal court system and now the final decision about the validity of the public charge rule rests with the Supreme Court. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 19, 2021

Biden Administration Signals Broad Immigration Enforcement Changes

The Biden Administration has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review and update policies related to enforcement guidelines. As an initial step, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released new guidance on immigration enforcement and removal categories. The enforcement priorities are divided into three main categories. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 5, 2021

President Joe Biden Rolls Back Several Trump-Era Immigration Policies

President Joe Biden wasted no time when, on February 2nd, just two weeks after taking office, he followed through on some of his campaign promises through three executive orders aimed at dismantling the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ immigration agenda. The three orders bring the total number of executive orders on immigration to nine in just two weeks since he’s been in office. 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 28, 2021

USCIS Replaces Sticker that Extends Green Card Validity

USCIS recently announced that, starting this month, it will no longer issue stickers extending the validity of expired permanent resident cards to lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”). The agency has instead revised the Form I-90 receipt notice, which will be used with the expired card to demonstrate status for an additional twelve months from expiration. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 27, 2021

Update – All In-Bound Travelers to United States Must Have Negative COVID-19 Test

As of January 26, 2021, all passengers on international flights to the United States must show a negative viral test for COVID-19. Requirement applies to all passengers, even U.S. Citizens, and as of right now proof of vaccination is not a substitute. Viral test must be taken within 72 hours of travel. Post-arrival self-quarantine also suggested. No testing requirements required at this time for travelers entering the United States at land crossings or by sea.

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 21, 2021

Biden Issues 100-Day Moratorium on Deportations

President Biden announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations to allow his Administration time to review relevant priorities for deportation within the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). The order stops all deportations for those foreign nationals physically present in the United States prior to November 1, 2020. There several notable exceptions for those who voluntarily choose to accept removal and those who present a national security threat. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 20, 2021

THE TRAVELER TWO-STEP: Forecasting Travel Restriction Changes Under the Biden Administration

U.S. travel restrictions affect those who have been in China, Iran, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and Schengen Area countries at any time during the fourteen days prior to seeking entry. There are waivers of the travel restrictions and they are likely to remain in place for some time. The Biden Administration will likely replace the executive orders underpinning the travel restrictions and embrace new policies and procedures without lifting them altogether. Learn more in this blog.