Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP

  • Beginning on November 8, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will allow foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the United States across the land borders with Canada and Mexico for nonessential purposes, including for visiting family and friends or for tourism. The announcement can be found here. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to travel to the United States across the land borders for nonessential purposes during this time and will only be allowed to enter the United States if they can show that it is for an essential purpose, such as for work. However, beginning in January 2022, DHS announced that it will require all foreign nationals entering the United States across the land borders to be fully vaccinated, whether they are traveling for essential or nonessential purposes. As of the date of this newsletter, DHS has not yet indicated what, if any, exemptions there will be to these new vaccination requirements, such as an exemption for children who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.

  • Last week, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson confirmed that only foreign tourists who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine that is approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (“WHO”) will be admitted to the United States as part of the new air travel system that the United States plans to implement for fully vaccinated foreign air travelers in early November 2021. So far, the only accepted vaccines authorized or approved by the FDA and/or WHO are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. In addition to full vaccination with an approved or authorized vaccine, the new air travel system will require international travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.

  • The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) recently released the November 2021 Visa Bulletin.  In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing charts for employment-based immigrant visa and adjustment of status cases, it contains notes on the diversity visa category, diversity category rank cut-offs which will apply in December, and an explanation of the numerical control system. Notably, as predicted by Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of DOS’ Visa Control and Reporting Division, the EB-3 India and China final action dates will retrogress for November, as DOS stated that there was an extraordinarily heavy applicant demand in these categories. All first employment-based preference countries of chargeability remain current for November. Additionally, for November 2021, employment-based applicants must use the dates for filing chart for adjustment of status applications. DOS is also hosting a live chat on October 26, 2021 at 1:00 PM EST with Charlie Oppenheim to address issues of general interest regarding the November 2021 Visa Bulletin, which will be available to view here.

  • The Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently updated its processing times for permanent labor certification (“PERM”) applications and prevailing wage requests. As of September 30, 2021, DOL is adjudicating ETA 9089 PERM applications filed in or before May 2021 and processing PERM prevailing wage requests filed in or before February 2021.

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