UPDATES as of July 1, 2020:  Please see our new piece, Entry Ban Update, for additional information that has become available about how the proclamation is being enforced for Canadians, visa renewals, and exceptions.



Continue Reading President Halts Certain Nonimmigrant Admissions and Extends Immigrant Admission Ban Through End of Year

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, US immigration agencies have continued offering minor, but welcome, accommodations to individuals affected by COVID-19 who rely on immigration programs. While there are no groundbreaking changes, here is a roundup of the most notable changes in the last two months.

Continue Reading COVID-19: Updates on Operational Changes at US Immigration Agencies

After suspending all “premium processing” for more than two months during the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS today announced it will again accept premium fees (currently, $1,440 per form) and requests for expedited adjudication (currently, 15 calendar days) for Forms I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) and I‑140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: USCIS Premium Processing Returns Beginning June 1, 2020

On March 25, we reported that US Citizenship and Immigration Services had closed all local domestic offices, including asylum offices, field offices, and application support centers, due to COVID-19 contagion risks.  Those closures, while initially short term, have been extended several times and remain in effect as of today.

Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: USCIS To Reopen Certain Local Offices on June 4

On May 24, 2020, the White House added Brazil to the list of countries triggering denial of admission to the US if travelers have been physically present in those countries for the preceding 14 days.  The presidential action cited “widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2” as the reason for the ban, listing the WHO’s ranking of Brazil with the “third highest number of confirmed cases in the world.”

Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: Brazil Joins US Prohibited Entry List

On March 12, we recommended that employers designate authorized representatives to complete and reverify Forms I-9 in person during COVID-19 closures and furloughs.  On March 24, we updated our guidance in detail because, in response to COVID-19, USCIS began allowing employers and employees to complete Forms I-9 remotely.  The agency has now further relaxed I-9 verification requirements.

Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: USCIS Relaxes Requirements To Verify Identity on Form I-9

Since 1990, the United States has granted up to 50,000 green cards each year to immigrants selected through the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”  Recently, the US Department of State announced delays in processing these cases due to COVID-19.  This development further exacerbates challenges caused by COVID-19, including the temporary suspension of visa appointments and USCIS in-person services, which we reported on last month, and the April 22 Executive Order halting immigrant visa admissions for 60 days.  See our analysis of the Order here.

Continue Reading COVID-19: Impact of Closures, Delays, and Executive Order on Diversity Visa Program

On March 23, 2020, we wrote about the impact of the global pandemic on travel between the United States and neighboring countries, in COVID-19: How Does the Outbreak Affect Travel Between the United States and Mexico or Canada?  We explained that the US, Mexican and Canadian governments had agreed to close their contiguous borders between March 20 and April 20, 2020, and then reassess whether borders should be reopened depending on the progress of the pandemic.

Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: Travel Still Stymied Between US and Its Neighbors