Immigration Alerts

Current Immigration Alert – RevisedTravel Ban and H-1B Premium Processing Suspension

Revised Travel Ban

The new order will be effective March 16, 2017. The Executive order states a 90-day entry suspension to the United States for the nationals of the following countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The following groups of foreign nationals are exempt:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Dual nationals
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Holders — provided that the visa stamp was issued prior to January 27, 2017 and remains valid.
  • Foreign nationals holding a valid Advance Parole document.

H-1B Premium Processing Suspension

Beginning April 3, 2017 USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petition. The suspension may last up to six months.

 

You may review the most recent CBP update here.

You may read the legal analysis of the situation for the Travel Ban here and H-1B Premium Processing Suspension here.

Please contact the Visa Office with any questions.

 

Past Immigration Alerts

February 4, 2017 – Executive Order “Travel Ban” Halted

Officially, the “travel ban” was halted temporarily by the US courts. However, the anecdotal reports indicate the CBP officials are exercising their own versions of it on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Visa Office before any travel abroad.

February 2017 – Executive Order

The temporary entry ban was instituted for the nationals of the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. For more information we have provided the following links:

You may review the most recent CBP update here.

You may read the legal analysis of the situation here and here.

Please contact the Visa Office with any questions.

 

Past Immigration Alerts

December 2016 – New Eligibility Standard for National Interest Waiver

USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office has established a new framework for adjudicating national interest waiver petitions, one that will provide greater clarity, apply more flexibly to circumstances of both petitioning employers and self-petitioning individuals, and better advance the purpose of the broad discretionary waiver provision to benefit the United States.

Under the new framework, and after eligibility for EB-2 classification has been established, USCIS may grant a national interest waiver if the petitioner demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) that the foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; (2) that the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and (3) that, on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification. If these three elements are satisfied, USCIS may approve the national interest waiver as a matter of discretion.

You may review the complete decision here.

 

November 2016 – Holiday Travel Planning for Foreign Nationals

Foreign national employees and visitors planning to travel abroad during the holiday season must begin to plan their travel as soon as possible to ensure all of their documents are in order. The following checklist is designed to bring your attention to the most important travel-related issues.

  1. Generally, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your visit end date. Please make sure you have sufficient passport validity remaining before reentering the US after travel abroad.
  2. The visa stamp in your passport must be valid and reflect your current status. For example, if the last time you entered the US you had an F-1 student visa, but have since changed your status to H-1B, you must apply for and receive an H-1B visa stamp at a US consulate abroad before returning to the US.
  3. If your green card application is currently pending, please contact the visa office in advance of your travel to discuss any questions you may have about your or your family’s ability to re-enter the US.
  4. If a change of status petition is currently pending on your behalf and will not be approved before your travel abroad, please contact the Visa Office immediately, as you must avoid leaving the US while your change of status is still being adjudicated.
  5. If friends or relatives plan to visit you using a Visa Waiver program, make sure they register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization at least 72 hours before departure.
  6. If you or someone coming to visit you in the US is a Chinese national travelling on a 10-year visitor visa, make sure you or they are registered with the Electronic Visa Update System at least 72 hours prior to departure.

In addition, please remember the following tips:

  1. If applying for a new or renewal visa during the holiday season, please expect a possibility of visa issuance delays due to heightened demand.
  2. If an additional security clearance is usually required for your visa, please plan on this clearance taking longer than usual.
  3. Upon arrival in the US, please remain calm, patient, and polite regardless of the officer’s attitude. Expect intense questioning of your motives, travel history, background, employment, and other issues. Please answer questions clearly and to the point, do not elaborate beyond the exact question. If you do not understand something, politely ask for clarification.
  4. Ensure the oval admission stamp in your passport reflects the correct status and validity date, and check this information once again when you obtain the electronic I-94 document online at the CBP website.

Travel smart and safe. Happy holidays!

 

October 2016 – Electronic Visa Update System

Some foreign nationals holding non-immigrant visa stamps in their passport will soon be required to enroll in the new CBP system online, Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS), prior to US-bound travel.

The new requirement will be rolled out in stages. The first group to be affected are Chinese nationals with 10 year B-1/B-2 visas – these travelers will be required to register with EVUS if they are traveling into the U.S. on or after November 29, 2016.

While the system is not yet operational, it should become active later in October. Registration will involve enrolling online, paying a fee ($8), and updating biographic information. Completed enrollment is valid for two years or until passport/visa expiration date, whichever comes first.

Failure to comply with this new requirement will result in the foreign national not being able to print a boarding pass or be admitted into the U.S. at a land border crossing. Their visa may also be revoked.

NO ACTION is required at this time. However, Chinese nationals planning to travel to the U.S. on or after November 29, 2016, must monitor the new system and register prior to their travel.

 

Questions? Comments? Contact the Visa Office!