Novel Coronavirus European Travel Ban (Effective March 13, 2020)

Airport terminal and coronavirus sign
Photo Credit: istock.com/Marta Ortiz

By Frida Glucoft and Benjamin Lau

On March 11, 2020, the White House issued Proclamation 9984 “Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” which suspends entry to the United States for immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present in the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their arrival to the United States. The Schengen Area includes the following 26 countries:

Austria Hungary Norway
Belgium Iceland Poland
Czech Republic Italy Portugal
Denmark Latvia Slovakia
Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Finland Lithuania Spain
France Luxembourg Sweden
Germany Malta Switzerland
Greece Netherlands

Exceptions: The travel restriction does not apply to US Citizens, legal permanent residents (green card holders), spouses of US Citizens or legal permanent residents, unmarried children under the age of 21 of US Citizens or legal permanent residents, parents or legal guardians of US Citizens or legal permanent residents who are unmarried and under the age of 21, or members of the US Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the US Armed Forces. Additional less common immigration statuses, such as individuals traveling on diplomatic visas, United Nation visas, or C-1/D crewmember visas, are also excluded from the travel restriction. Continue reading “Novel Coronavirus European Travel Ban (Effective March 13, 2020)”

Update to Critical Restrictions on French Nationals (E and L Visas) as of November 12, 2019

Worker is applying for Visa to Paris France.
Photo credit: iStock.com/junce

By Frida P. Glucoft and Janice Luo

Today, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) changed the reciprocity schedule for France to reflect decreased E-1, E-2, and L-1 visa validity periods. Specifically, effective November 12, 2019, E-1 and E-2 visas are now limited to a validity of only 25 months per visa issuance. Similarly, L-1 visas are now limited to a validity of only 17 months per visa issuance. Until this change, E and L visas have had validity for 60 months.

In general, different types of U.S. nonimmigrant visas have different allowable validity periods depending on the nationality of the applicant, because the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires the DOS to set country-specific visa policies based on reciprocity. The validity periods, number of entries, and visa fees for different types of visas are based on each country’s treatment of similar classes of U.S. visitors to its territory, as well as national security, immigration, and other considerations. Since August 2019, there have been announcements by the U.S. Embassy in France regarding decreased E visa validity periods for French nationals. According to the U.S. Embassy in France’s website at that time, the reduction in validity time on E visas was implemented to correspond with the “treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by the Government of France”. However, until today, the DOS has not changed the reciprocity schedule to reflect the changes. Continue reading “Update to Critical Restrictions on French Nationals (E and L Visas) as of November 12, 2019”

USCIS Extends (and Expands) Premium Processing Ban

World map created with passport stamps, travel concept
Photo credit: iStock.com/Delpixart

By David S. Rugendorf

The USCIS announced today that it is extending its ban on premium processing on certain H-1B petitions. Premium Processing allows an employer to seek an adjudication of a visa petition within 15 days upon payment of an additional filing fee, currently $1,225 (increasing to $1,410 on October 1, 2018). Employers should review their current and upcoming H-1B visa needs to determine how the ban will impact their matters, so they can plan accordingly.

To be specific, USCIS estimated earlier this year it would reinstate Premium Processing for H-1B cap cases in September 2018 (in roughly two weeks from now). The suspension of Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions is now expected to be extended through at least February 19, 2019. USCIS expects this suspension will help reduce the processing time for H-1Bs by allowing it to process long-pending petitions. In addition, USCIS states that the temporary suspension will allow them to be more responsive to petitions with time-sensitive start dates, as well as to prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing their 240-day work authorization limit dates. Continue reading “USCIS Extends (and Expands) Premium Processing Ban”

California Passes Immigrant Worker Protection Act

US Customs and Border Protection
Photo credit: iStock.com/danielfela

By Janice Luo and Justine Lazarus

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), which restricts public and private employers in California from admitting immigration inspectors to the workplace without a judicial warrant.  It also requires employers to notify their employees before and after certain immigration inspections take place.  The new law, which adds Sections 7285.1, 7285.2, and 7285.3 to the California Government Code, and Sections 90.2 and 1019.2 to the California Labor Code, will take effect on January 1, 2018.

In conflict with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) plans to increase enforcement actions under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which includes criminal and civil penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers; the new California law seeks to protect foreign workers from unfair immigration-related practices, potentially causing problems for employers who must comply with federal and state laws.  Continue reading “California Passes Immigrant Worker Protection Act”

Implementation of Executive Order Imposing Temporary Travel and Refugee Ban

By Benjamin Lau and David Rugendorf

On March 6, 2017, President Trump reissuedbusiness travel the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” with an effective date of March 16, 2017. The previous Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017, will be revoked on March 16, 2017, and replaced with this reissued Order.

The new Executive Order bans immigrant and nonimmigrant entries for nationals of six designated countries – Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – for at least 90 days beginning on March 16, 2017. The new Executive Order specifically removes Iraq from the list of designated countries.   Continue reading “Implementation of Executive Order Imposing Temporary Travel and Refugee Ban”

New USCIS Forms And USCIS Filing Fee Adjustment

By Benjamin Lau and Frida Glucoft On December 23, 2016, the USCIS posted a large number of new form versions with effective dates of December 23, 2016, to its website and indicated that no other versions of the forms would be accepted. Numerous stakeholders, companies, immigration attorneys, professional organizations and advocacy groups contacted the USCIS to demand a grace period where prior form versions could … Continue reading New USCIS Forms And USCIS Filing Fee Adjustment