On July 16, 2020, the Department of State provided updated information on the availability of exceptions to the June 22 Presidential Proclamation 10052, which extends Proclamation 10014 through Dec. 31, 2020,.

Some travelers and visa applicants who are affected by the Proclamation may qualify for an exception if the purpose of their travel to the United States is for humanitarian reasons, public health response, or national security. Other exceptions include: (1) applicants who are subject to aging out of their current immigrant visa classification; (2) certain H and J visa applicants who are traveling to the United Sates to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy; and (3) dependents of applicants who are excepted from, or not subject to, the Proclamations.
Continue Reading Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations – Department of State Guidance

The U.S. Department of State announced on July 13, 2020, via Twitter, that U.S. embassies and consulates are entering a “phased resumption of routine visa services” beginning July 15, 2020.
Continue Reading U.S. Embassies and Consulates Expected to Resume Visa Services Beginning on July 15

As economies worldwide begin to re-open, some companies and individuals are thinking about resuming international travel. If international travel is required for your work or other reasons, be prepared for


Continue Reading July 2020 Travel Advisory, U.S. Embassy/ Consular Services, and COVID-19 Movement Restrictions

COVID-19 has given rise to business complications related to closing physical office spaces, furloughing employees, and terminating employees, to name a few. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of
Continue Reading Business Immigration Advocates Send Letter Requesting Immigration Relief to Departments of State and Homeland Security

On Jan. 29, 2020, USCIS announced that it would be making a significant change to the processing of I-526 Petitions, commonly referred to as EB-5 Petitions. USCIS previously had a policy to adjudicate EB-5 Petitions on a “first-in, first-out” basis. This meant that USCIS was to review and decide EB-5 Petitions based solely on the date the petition was filed with USCIS. Today, USCIS announced that it would change this policy and decide EB-5 Petitions using the “visa availability” approach.

What is the “Visa Availability” approach?

The “visa availability” approach outlined by USCIS would prioritize EB-5 Petitions for adjudication based on whether a visa number is available to the investor. This ties the timing of the decision on the EB-5 petition to whether the investor is subject to visa retrogression based on their country of birth. As a reminder, the employment-based fifth preference category “EB-5” is allotted approximately 10,000 immigrant visas annually. This quota includes principal applicants, as well as spouses and dependent children under 21 years of age. No one country can exceed more than seven percent of the total EB-5 visas available in each fiscal year.


Continue Reading USCIS Announces Significant Change to EB-5 Adjudications Processing

On Aug. 23, 2019, our firm wrote about the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) announcement that the validity period of E-1 and E-2 visas for French Nationals would be reduced from 60 months to 15 months effective Aug 29, 2019. The effective date has now been postponed to Sept. 26, 2019.

The general rule is that different types of U.S. visas have different visa validity periods depending on the nationality of the visa applicant because the Immigration and Nationality Act requires the DOS to set country-specific visa policies on a reciprocal basis. The validity periods are based on each country’s treatment of similar classes of U.S. visitors to its territory. In other words, if a country imposes restrictive visa requirements on U.S. citizens, the U.S. reciprocates with more restrictive requirements on that country’s citizens.
Continue Reading Update: U.S. to Reduce E-Visa Validity for French Nationals Effective Sept. 26, 2019

On Aug. 28, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new policy guidance “to address requirements for ‘residence’ in statutory provisions related to citizenship, and to rescind previous guidance regarding children of U.S. government employees and members of the U.S. armed forces employed or stationed outside the United States.” USCIS has updated its Policy Manual to clarify the distinction between residence and physical presence in the United States and to clarify that short visits to the United States do not establish residence as well as to state that children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States are no longer considered to be “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320. This policy will become effective Oct. 29, 2019. 

Continue Reading Friendly Fire: USCIS Deploys New Definition of ‘Residence’ in Statutory Provisions Related to Citizenship