Category Archives: Coronavirus

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Work from Home Scenarios due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), may require a review of companies’ H-1B or E-3 compliance

In almost every state, companies have instituted temporary work from home policies—or have been instructed by government authorities to institute such policies—in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), in an effort to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus.  In so doing, companies that regularly employ H-1B and E-3 visa holders may need … Continue Reading

USCIS Issues Limited Help to Employers Facing RFEs and NOIDs

On March 27, 2020 and March 30, 2020, USCIS announced limited help to employers facing requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID) during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement will permit employers who receive an RFE, NOID, Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR), Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIT), or appealable … Continue Reading

COVID-19 and U.S. Immigration Updates: Considerations for Those Who May Be Stuck Abroad or Can’t Make a Scheduled Appointment

The United States is now under a national emergency due to the COVID-19 epidemic. While USCIS remains open and is accepting all mail at the time of writing, it has canceled all in-person appointments, including interviews, biometrics and InfoPass appointments, through April 7, 2020. All appointments will be automatically rescheduled by USCIS when possible. While all … Continue Reading

Closure Updates for U.S. Immigration Agencies and Restrictions on International Travel

Update: USCIS Closure extends until at least April 7. With the spread of COVID-19 and the attempt to prevent its spread, in addition to the travel bans in place by the President, U.S. government agencies are starting to shut down.  Furthermore, other countries are starting to follow suit and shut its borders in an attempt … Continue Reading

DHS issues Guidance Relaxing Form I-9 Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued revised guidance on I-9 compliance in light of employer office closures around the country due to COVID-19. DHS announced that it will exercise its discretion to defer the physical presence requirement associated with completing Form I-9, where the employee must present physical documents to be examined by the … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Guidance Amidst COVID-19

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance regarding several immigration processes in light of employer office closures around the country due to COVID-19. Many of these issues include extending posting dates and filing deadlines. The DOL notes that it intends to remain fully operational, as its employees have teleworking capabilities, and that applications will continue to … Continue Reading

Suspension of Premium Processing for I-129 and I-140 Petitions

Effective March 20, 2020, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all I-129 petitions and I-140 petitions due to COVID-19.  For petitions filed prior to March 20, 2020, USCIS will process the petition accordingly, but if no action has been taken within the 15-day window, USCIS will refund the premium processing fee. In addition, USCIS will … Continue Reading

USCIS Will Accept Electronic Signatures

Due to COVID-19, USCIS will accept benefit forms and documents without an original, wet signature for submissions dated after March 21, 2020, but with no announced end date. This means the document can be scanned, faxed, or photocopied from an original signature. USCIS notes that the documents with the original signatures must be retained if USCIS … Continue Reading

USCIS Encourages Rescheduling of Appointments Due to Sickness

The USCIS website has links to its various field offices where biometrics and interviews take place around the country.  The website has now been updated to include a link that designates USCIS Office Closings.  This is helpful when there are last minute closures and a rescheduling notice has not been sent in time:  See USCIS … Continue Reading

U.S. Extends Travel Restrictions to U.K. and Ireland – Department of Homeland Security Outlines New Re-Entry Process for U.S. Citizens, U.S. Legal Permanent Residents and Other Exempted Individuals from Certain European Countries, China, and Iran, including Mandatory 14-Day Self-Quarantine Period

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST, the U.S. will extend the same travel restrictions to the U.K. and Ireland as are already in effect for other European countries, China and Iran. The Department of Homeland Security also issued a Fact Sheet outlining the return process for persons affected by the March 11 presidential … Continue Reading

U.S. Immigration and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Facts, Thoughts, Questions and Answers

Travel to the U.S. – Suspensions and Restrictions (Updated March 15, 2020) The White House has published three Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related proclamations relating to travel to the United States: Jan. 31, 2020: Proclamation 9984, Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. … Continue Reading

Compliance During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Escalation

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has just been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and is spreading throughout the United States and beyond. As a result, some businesses, public organizations, and even some countries are going on lockdown over health concerns. Some businesses are hiring employees remotely and asking employees to work from home. As part of … Continue Reading

U.S. Suspends Entry of Foreign Nationals for 30 Days Effective March 13, 2020, U.S. Travelers Required to Enter Through Designated Ports of Entry

On March 11, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, effective at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 13, 2020, which prohibits the entry of most foreign nationals who traveled to European – Schengen Area countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the U.S. These restrictions will not apply … Continue Reading

Significant Restrictions at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Italy Due to COVID-19 (also in Italian)

As an update to our Feb. 26 post regarding the U.S. Consulate General in Milan temporarily suspending its routine visa services, on March 9, 2020, the Italian government issued a decree which restricts the movement of the country’s entire population effective immediately. This decree is valid until April 3, 2020, but is subject to change. Employers … Continue Reading

Update: As Covid-19 Concerns Grow, So Does Entry Ban

On the heels of consular closings and additional travel restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19, the Trump administration announced on Feb. 29, 2020, it will deny entry to all foreign nationals who were physically present in the Islamic Republic of Iran within 14 days prior to their attempted entry in the United … Continue Reading

U.S. Consulate General in Milan Will Temporarily Suspend Its Routine Visa Services (also in Italian)

On Feb. 23, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy announced that the U.S. Consulate General in Milan will temporarily suspend its routine visa services until March 2, 2020, due to the recent spread of respiratory illness COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease). See Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Rome, Italy. On the same day, the U.S. Centers for … Continue Reading

Update – U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China Suspended Regular Visa Services as of Feb. 3

On Feb. 7, 2020, the official visa information website of the U.S. mission in China (http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/cn/index.html?firstTime=No) announced that as of Feb. 3, 2020, regular visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and Consulates General in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang are all suspended. The notice further states that the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in … Continue Reading

Update on Cancellation of Visa Appointments at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China, and USCIS Response to the Coronavirus

As a follow-up to our Jan. 31 blog post, we have yet to see an official announcement from the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China regarding visa appointment cancellations for the week of Feb. 10 or later. However, this week, we began receiving non-immigrant and immigrant visa appointment cancellations for the week of Feb. 10. Likewise, … Continue Reading

U.S. Halting Travel to the U.S. By All Foreign Nationals Who Have Been in China within the last 14 days

The Trump Administration has publicly announced that on 5 p.m. eastern time Sunday, February 2, 2020, it will deny entry to all foreign nationals who have been in China within the last 14 days (since January 19, 2020). This ban does not apply to the following individuals: (1) Lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders); (2) … Continue Reading

Alert – U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China Cancel Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Interviews for the Week of Feb. 3 通知:美国驻华大使馆和领事馆取消2月3日一周的移民类和非移民类签证面试

On Jan. 31, the official visa information website of the U.S. mission in China posted an urgent announcement that U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China are cancelling immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments the week of Feb. 3. The visa information website cannot provide a specific date when routine visa services will be resumed. We expect EB-5 investors, … Continue Reading

Immigration Issues for Chinese Travelers to the United States During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As many of our readers are aware, the novel coronavirus1 outbreak in China is a major public health concern. At the time of publishing this blog post, the U.S. has not restricted travel for visitors who may be coming from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, the now-quarantined city that is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. … Continue Reading

Important Update on Visa Rescheduling Due to the Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus outbreak throughout China, a number of heavily infected Chinese cities, including Wuhan, are under quarantine, whereas many other parts of China have imposed certain types of travel restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. On Jan. 28, 2020, the U.S. Consulate General of Hong Kong & Macau … Continue Reading
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