Immigration Update

Aug 9, 2021 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, read about the Biden Administration’s plan to develop vaccine requirements for most travelers, a suit brought against USCIS by a group of Indian and Chinese immigrants over risks of Green Card loss, an announcement from USCIS regarding RFEs for I-693s, and more.

Biden Administration Develops Plan to Require Full Vaccination for Most Travelers to United States

According to reports, the Biden administration is developing a “phased” plan to require most travelers to the United States to be fully vaccinated, with exceptions. The idea is to make it possible to safely re-open travel to the United States and lift pandemic-related restrictions on foreign travelers. A White House official told CBS News that federal interagency working groups “are working to develop a plan for a consistent and safe international travel policy, in order to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel. This includes a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated. Currently, the interagency working groups are developing a policy and planning process to be prepared for when the time is right to transition to this new system.” Under discussion are the details of how to implement such a policy, what proof of vaccination will be accepted, and which vaccines will be accepted. It is unclear whether only air travel will be affected or whether vaccines will also be required before crossing land borders.

Details: “Biden Administration Prepares Plan Requiring Foreign Travelers to be Vaccinated,” CBS News, Aug. 5, 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-travelers-united-states-biden-administration-plan/

125 Indians and Chinese Sue USCIS Over Risk of Green Card Loss

A group of 125 Indian and Chinese immigrants approved for employment-based green cards sued U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in federal court in Maryland on August 3, 2021. In Chakrabarti v. USCIS, they argue that delayed processing is risking the potential loss of up to 100,000 “rollover” green cards from the unused family preferences to the employment preferences. Family-based green cards went unused due to closures at U.S. consulates as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and former President Trump’s ban on the issuance of immigrant visas in April 2020. Any green cards that are not given by September 30, 2021, will be wasted. Plaintiffs ask the court to compel USCIS to adjudicate their adjustment applications by the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2021, or reserve the visa numbers through the next fiscal year.

Details: “Would-Be U.S. Residents Sue USCIS Over ‘Wasted’ Green Cards,” Law360, Aug. 3, 2021, https://www.law360.com/immigration/articles/1409263/would-be-us-residents-sue-uscis-over-wasted-green-cards (registration required)

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USCIS Is Sending RFEs for I-693s; Medicals Should Be Filed Soon After Receiving RFE

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that it is sending communications to adjustment applicants or their representatives with notice that a Request for Evidence (RFE) will be sent for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. USCIS said it is attempting to adjudicate as many adjustment of status applications as possible before the end of the fiscal year. Applicants may respond to the RFE with completed medicals. The RFE will provide instructions for filing. The I-693 should be filed as soon as possible after receiving the RFE so the case can be adjudicated before September 30, 2021. Please contact your WR Immigration attorney with any questions.

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USCIS Extends Initial Registration Period for New TPS Applicants From Venezuela, Syria, and Burma, and Corrects Venezuelan Notice

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) extended the initial registration periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial (new) applicants under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Venezuela, Syria, and Burma. The notice also corrected the Federal Register notice regarding Venezuela. USCIS said this extension allows an individual to apply as an initial applicant any time during the 18-month designation periods for the three countries. However, USCIS noted that “applicants should be aware that the ability to file a late initial TPS application may not be available during any potential subsequent extensions of these designations, so individuals desiring TPS should take action to apply during this 18-month initial registration period in order to ensure that they do not miss the opportunity to obtain TPS.” The notice also makes several corrections to the Venezuela notice, including changing September 7, 2021, to September 9, 2021, and making other adjustments in the sentence, “Although not required to do so, if you want to obtain an EAD valid through September 9, 2022, you must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I–765) and pay the Form I–765 fee or request a fee waiver.”

Details: Federal Register notice, Aug. 4, 2021, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-08-04/pdf/2021-16611.pdf

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