- EB-1 will remain current for all countries, including China and India
- EB-2 China will remain at July 1, 2018, and India will remain at September 1, 2011. All other countries will remain current.
- EB-3: Retrogressed Final Action Dates could be imposed for India and China as early as November 2021. The EB-2 NIW and EB-1 may be a better bet.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending.
Under the previous policy, applicants needed to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which required them to file extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status.
To prevent a “gap” in status, USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day we approve an applicant’s Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. If we approve an application more than 30 days before the student’s program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 status during that time. An example of a violation would be engaging in employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on their Form I-20.
“Pursuant to the July 16, 2021 Order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Texas v. United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is enjoined from granting initial DACA requests.
All individuals whose DACA requests were granted prior to this decision will continue to have and be eligible to renew DACA, and to request and receive advance parole, consistent with the court’s order. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide additional specific operational guidance in the coming days.
USCIS is proud to play an important role in implementing DACA. DACA recipients are students, military service members, essential workers, and part of our communities in every way, shape, and form. USCIS will comply with the court order, continue to implement the components of DACA that remain in place, and work on publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking designed to strengthen and fortify DACA.”
Visit the USCIS DACA webpage for more information.
Limited Visa Services and Travel restrictions continue for foreign nationals entering the US if they have been in an impacted country. For a list of impacted countries per CDC guidelines, click here.
National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
Department of State, May 27, 2021
On May 27, 2021, the Secretary of State made a national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent PPs related to the spread of COVID-19. As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States; journalists; students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs; immigrants; and fiancés may now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE). Qualified travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States following the procedures below, even as PPs 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199 remain in effect.
Travelers in categories described above who have a valid visa in the appropriate class or who have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization, should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling, if they believe they may qualify for a National Interest Exception. If a NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Each approved NIE is valid for 30 days and a single trip to the United States.
Students with valid F-1 or M-1 visas traveling to begin or continue an academic program do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. NIE eligibility for students who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa applies only to programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.
The Department of State also continues to grant NIEs for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security. These travelers and any others who believe their travel to be in the United States’ national interest should also review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instruction on how to contact them.
The National Law Review May 11, 2021
The IE parole program provides a temporary immigration pathway for foreign entrepreneurs who have founded companies in the United States attracting venture capital or other funding that may benefit the nation by growing and adding jobs to the U.S. economy.
Under the IE program, parole may be granted to up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity, as well as their spouses and children. Parole authorizes the beneficiary the right to enter and stay in the United States, for a specific period of time granted by DHS. The IE program is not a typical immigration pathway, but it fills a gap for entrepreneurs that more common immigration statuses do not satisfy. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business, and their spouses may apply for employment authorization in the United States, though their children are not eligible for such authorization based on this parole.
International Entrepreneur parole program applicants must show that they:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced [ https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2021-09609/removal-of-international-entrepreneur-parole-program ] today that the Department of Homeland Security is withdrawing a 2018 notice of proposed rulemaking that proposed to remove the International Entrepreneur program from DHS regulations. The International Entrepreneur (IE) parole program, first introduced in 2017, will remain a viable program for foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities with high growth potential in the United States. The program will help to strengthen and grow our nation’s economy through increased capital spending, innovation, and job creation.
The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) would like to remind you that individuals who are eligible to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and employment authorization may submit their renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date on their current Form I-797, Notice of Approval, and on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
While processing times can vary, filing as early as possible will minimize the possibility that the current period of DACA and employment authorization will expire before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates the renewal request. USCIS’ published goal is to process DACA renewal and related employment authorization requests within 120 days. If you file after the recommended filing period (meaning less than 120 days before your current period of DACA expires), there is an increased possibility that your current period of DACA and employment authorization will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request.
To check current USCIS case processing times, please visit the agency’s Check Case Processing Times web page. Please note that USCIS has said that in accordance with longstanding policy, there is no expedited processing for deferred action, including deferred action under DACA.
For more information on DACA, please visit the USCIS Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Frequently Asked Questions web pages.
USCIS is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual instructing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change, or new material facts.
With this update, USCIS is reverting in substance to prior long-standing guidance issued in 2004, which directed officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application. In 2017, USCIS rescinded the 2004 guidance.
This update is in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. The executive order directs the secretary of homeland security to identify barriers that impede access to immigration benefits and fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits. Affording deference to prior approvals involving the same parties promotes efficient and fair adjudication of immigration benefits.
For more information, see the policy guidance.
As of March 31, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in August 2020 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in April 2020 or earlier.
DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM requests filed in October 2020 and H-1B requests filed in November 2020.
These reports are available on the FLAG page.
U.S. visa News
Marty & Ellis keeps you informed of the latest news regarding visas to the United States.