Immigration Update

Mar 21, 2022 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, find the latest news on the USCIS urging eligible individuals to consider applying for adjustment in the EB-2 category, USCIS preparing to resume public services on June 4, DHS designating Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status, and more! 

USCIS Urges Eligible Individuals to Consider Applying for Adjustment in the EB-2 Category Based on April Visa Bulletin Date for Filing for India

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for April 2022 advances the date for filing applications for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status in the EB-2 category for India from September 1, 2013, to September 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages noncitizens who have approved immigrant visa petitions in the EB-2 category chargeable to India and a priority date earlier than September 1, 2014, to consider applying for adjustment of status in April.

USCIS noted that applicants should include Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to save time. Concurrently filing these two forms is not required, “but filing both forms at the same time may eliminate the need for USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence to obtain your Form I-693. This may also help avoid adjudication delays if we decide that you do not need to be interviewed,” USCIS said.

USCIS continues to encourage eligible applicants to consider requesting to transfer the underlying basis of their pending adjustment of status applications in the EB-3 category to the EB-1 or EB-2 category if they meet the following criteria: a visa is unavailable to them in the EB-3 category; they have a pending or approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; and a visa is available in the EB-1 or EB-2 category.

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USCIS Prepares to Resume Public Services on June 4

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 15, 2022, that it is preparing some domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4, 2022. USCIS said it is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.

While certain offices are temporarily closed, USCIS continues to provide limited emergency in-person services. As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews “to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy.” USCIS said, “If you are feeling sick, please do not go to your appointment. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick.”

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DHS Designates Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status

On March 16, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Afghanistan for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months, effective on the publication date of a forthcoming Federal Register notice. Only those who were already residing in the United States as of March 15, 2022, and who meet all other requirements, including undergoing security and background checks, will be eligible for TPS. Under the designation, TPS will also provide “additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

Through Operation Allies Welcome, DHS said, most Afghan nationals who arrived as part of the evacuation effort were paroled into the United States on a case-by-case basis, for humanitarian reasons, for a period of two years and received work authorization. These individuals may also be eligible for TPS, the agency noted.

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USCIS Updates Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 18, 2022, that it is updating guidance to address the documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status. USCIS noted:

  • On November 12, 2021, USCIS issued a policy announcement to clarify that it would consider E and L spouses to be employment-authorized based on their valid E or L nonimmigrant status. Since the November 2021 announcement, the Department of Homeland Security added new Class of Admission (COA) codes to distinguish between E and L spouses and children.
  • As of January 30, 2022, USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began issuing Forms I-94 with the following new COA codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses under List C of Form
    I-9.
  • An E or L spouse age 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before January 30, 2022, will receive a notice from USCIS beginning on or about April 1, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. An E or L spouse who is under 21, or has not received the notice by April 30, can email
    E-L-married-U21@uscis.dhs.gov to request a notice.
  • USCIS will only send notices to individuals identified as qualifying spouses based on a Form I-539 approved by USCIS. Individuals who received their Form I-94 from CBP should visit www.cbp.gov.

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CBP Announces Electronic I-94 Issuance at Land Ports of Entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is now issuing the Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) electronically at land ports of entry. The Form I-94 documents nonimmigrants’ status in the United States, the approved length of stay, and departure information.

CBP has automated the Form I-94 process for most nonimmigrants arriving by air and sea. However, CBP previously issued paper Form I-94s to nonimmigrants arriving by land. For land arrivals, CBP is no longer issuing paper forms to nonimmigrants upon arrival except in limited circumstances and upon nonimmigrant request if feasible, CBP said, noting that nonimmigrants can access the Form I-94 online or via mobile application.

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