Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it is again extending flexible deadlines for responding to certain requests and notices from the agency. Petitioners and applicants have an additional 60 calendar days beyond the due date to respond to certain requests and notices issued by USCIS from March 1, 2020 through March 26, 2022, including Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, and Notices of Intent to Revoke.
- On December 31, 2021, the White House revoked its proclamation suspending and limiting the entry for certain foreign nationals who were physically present in the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. However, inbound international air travelers remain subject to COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements.
- The Department of State (“DOS”) expanded the waiver for in-person consular interviews for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants through December 31, 2022. Under this expanded authority, consular officers have the discretion to waive the interview requirement for individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q applicants who were previously issued any type of visa or who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization; who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived; and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility. Applicants under these visa categories must be applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. DOS has also extended the interview waiver for certain F, M, and academic J visa applicants through December 31, 2022, and the eligibility criteria for these categories are similar to those described above. DOS has not yet provided guidance on how applicants should proceed if they qualify for the visa interview waiver but have already scheduled a visa interview.
- Related to the interview waiver announcement above, DOS also indefinitely extended the authorization of consular officers to waive in-person interviews for applicants renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration. This broad language suggests that interview waivers could even be extended to B-1/B-2 visa renewals.
- In response to the need for healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS announced that healthcare workers with a pending EAD renewal application whose EAD expires in 30 days or less or has already expired can request expedited processing of their EAD applications. Proof of employment is required.
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