March 2017 Visa Bulletin—Updates and Projections for Employment-Based Categories

Below is a summary of the March 2017 Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month for employment-based categories:

  • China continues to move forward at a slow pace, and the EB-3 cut-off date (March 15, 2014) remains ahead of the EB-2 date (December 15, 2012)
  • India EB-2 advances two months to June 1, 2008, while EB-3 remains stalled at March 22, 2005
  • Philippines EB-3 jumps ahead five months to March 15, 2012
  • Worldwide EB-3 moves forward two months to December 1, 2016

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Ninth Circuit Unanimously Rejects Reinstatement of Travel Ban

The Ninth Circuit has just issued a unanimous opinion upholding the Temporary Restraining Order against the Trump Administration’s Executive Order known as the “Travel Ban.” The 3-judge panel unanimously recognized that without the TRO, the states of Minnesota and Washington were likely to be harmed as parens patriae (i.e., legal protector) for their citizens, and also by damage inflicted on “operations and missions of their public universities and other institutions of higher learning,” and their “operations, tax bases, and public funds.”

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Travel Ban FAQs

The President’s Executive Order, commonly called the “travel ban”, has raised many questions.  We answer the most frequently asked questions below, and will update them as additional information becomes available.

I am from one of the named countries and am outside of the United States.  Can I apply for a nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) visa at a US consulate?

On January 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provisionally revoked most valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas issued to nationals from the seven countries subject to the travel ban. Certain diplomatic and other visa categories are exempt from this action. This move was largely symbolic since individuals subject to the travel ban are not permitted to enter the United States. However, if and when the travel ban is lifted, individuals from the listed countries would most likely need to reapply to a U.S. consulate abroad for a new visa before they could travel to the United States.

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DHS Clarifies Policies Affecting Travelers and Applicants, As Details of Possible New Executive Orders Emerge

The fast pace of immigration developments under the new Trump administration continues. The following are some of the issues that are most important to individuals and businesses in the United States: Continue Reading

Uncertainty Continues Over Who is Affected by the Travel Ban

As we reported last Friday, President Trump has signed an Executive Order to temporarily restrict the admission of all refugees and persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The administration’s failure to provide clear guidance to its own agencies on how to implement the order is resulting in inconsistent applications, which are unacceptable to the hundreds of thousands of individuals and U.S. businesses potentially affected by this travel ban.

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UPDATE: Visa Issuance Now Suspended for Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

We have learned that, as of the evening of January 27, 2017, all U.S. embassies and consular posts have been instructed to immediately suspend the issuance of both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas and cancel currently scheduled visa interviews for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Some diplomatic visa categories are exempt.

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UPDATE: Trump Signs Executive Order Banning/Restricting Refugees and Other Nationals of Muslim-Majority Countries

The Administration has now signed the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals,” with immediate effect. Individuals from the designated countries should strongly consider not traveling outside the United States during the periods mentioned below. Key provisions are as follows:

1. The Order prohibits the “immigrant or nonimmigrant entry” into the United States by nationals of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Libya for the next 90 days – until April 27, 2017.

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Executive Order to Ban Muslims/Refugees is Imminent

A draft of President Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims and Refugees has surfaced.  While the final Order may be different, we expect most of what is in the draft to remain.  The draft Order provides for:

  • 120-day suspension and “realignment” of the refugee admissions program to determine what additional procedures are necessary to ensure the security and welfare of the United States
  • Indefinite suspension of the Syrian refugee program
  • 30-day suspension of visa issuance to nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen
  • 30-day suspension of “other” immigration benefits for nationals of those countries

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New EAD Automatic Extension Regulation Effective Today, But Who Does It Benefit?

The provision automatically extending some Employment Authorization Documents (“EADs”) of the much-anticipated “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimigrant Workers” regulation goes into effect today.  The regulation provides for the automatic extension of certain EADs for a period not to exceed 180 days, provided that a renewal application is:

  1. Properly filed with USCIS before the expiration date shown on the face of the expiring EAD,
  2. Based on the same employment category shown on the face of the expiring EAD, and
  3. Based on a class of aliens whose employment eligibility to apply for employment authorization continues notwithstanding expiration of the EAD and is based on an employment authorization category that does not require adjudication of an underlying application or petition before the adjudication of the renewal application.

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