Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP

  • Last week in Kinsley v. Blinken, No. 21-962 (JEB) (D.D.C. Oct. 5, 2021), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the Department of State (“DOS”) improperly suspended the visa issuance process when it refused to issue visas to eligible individuals from countries that were subject to geographic-based travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court ruled that DOS violated INA § 212(f) by relying on the geographic-based travel restrictions as a basis to cease visa adjudications for applicants from the affected countries. Although the court has declared DOS’ practice as unlawful, it has not yet issued an order as of the date of this newsletter instructing DOS on how to proceed.

  • The online registration for the Diversity Visa-2023 program opened on October 6, 2021, at 12:00 PM EDT and will close on November 9, 2021, at 12:00 PM EST. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides individuals from countries with lower levels of immigration to the United States with an opportunity to apply for permanent residence. Individuals can only submit one entry during the registration period. Individuals who submit more than one entry will be disqualified. For a list of countries that are ineligible for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, please see the DOS list here.

  • Effective October 1, 2021, DOS announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require immigrant, K fiancé(e), and some nonimmigrant visa applicants who are referred to panel physicians to receive a full COVID-19 vaccine series as part of their medical exam prior to receiving a visa. Waivers may be available where the vaccine is unavailable or is not age appropriate.

  • Recently in Parcharne v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, No. 1:21-CV-115-SA-DAS (N.D. Miss. Sept. 30, 2021), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi ordered U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to adjudicate five plaintiffs’ I-485 applications from the employment-based visa allocations before the end of FY2021. The court found that the plaintiffs, who applied for adjustment of status during FY2021, had established that there was unreasonable delay in USCIS’ adjudication of their applications for adjustment of status. The court ordered USCIS to adjudicate the plaintiffs’ adjustment of status applications by the end of FY2021, which was September 30, 2021, or alternatively, to reserve five visas for the plaintiffs from the visa surplus from FY2021 to be approved within a reasonable time.

  • USCIS recently updated Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Beginning December 7, 2021, USCIS will only accept the August 31, 2021 edition of Form AR-11.  As a reminder, all noncitizens are required to report a change of address to USCIS within ten days of changing their address.

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