On June 10, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the rescission of the Order titled “Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for All Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving in the United States from any Foreign Country.” This rescission takes effect for flights departing
Effective January 31, 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has implemented new Codes of Admission for spouses and children of L and E visa holders. The new codes are:
|E-1S – Spouse of E-1||E-3S – Spouse of E-3|
|E-1Y – Child of E-1||E-3Y – Child of E-3|
|E-2S – Spouse of E-2||L-2S – Spouse of L-1A or B|
|E-2Y – Child of E-2||L-2Y – Child of L-1A or B|
On December 23, 2021, the Department of State announced that consular officers are now authorized to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary work visa applicants who have petitions approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This authorization will expire on December 31, 2022. Interviews may be waived for temporary workers applying for the following visa types: H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q. As the authorization requires a USCIS-approved petition, it does not appear to apply to individual visa applications submitted pursuant to approved “L” blankets. In order to qualify, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
Continue Reading State Department Will Waive Interviews for Many Temporary Work Visa Applicants
In response to the omicron variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has significantly shortened the time period during which travelers must secure a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to the United States. All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the U.S. from a foreign country after 12:01am EST on December 6, 2021, are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight. Previously, the 1-day rule only applied to unvaccinated travelers, and vaccinated travelers were allowed 3 days before departure to secure negative test results.
Continue Reading CDC Now Requires COVID Testing 1 Day Prior to Travel to the US
On November 26, 2021, in response to the discovery of the omicron variant of the virus which causes COVID-19, the Biden Administration issued a Presidential Proclamation banning the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe during the past 14-day period. This ban comes only 19 days after the U.S. government ended its COVID-19 travel bans worldwide and replaced them with a vaccine mandate for travel to the United States. The Proclamation is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 29, 2021 and does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the U.S. that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 29, 2021.
Continue Reading Omicron Variant Triggers U.S. Travel Ban from Eight African Countries
On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Alert and new policy guidance addressing Employment Authorization Document (EAD) auto-extensions for H-4, E, and L spouses and to clarify that E and L dependent spouses will be considered work authorized incident to nonimmigrant status. USCIS confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take steps to modify Forms I-94 to distinguish E and L dependent spouses from E and L dependent children. Until Forms I-94 are updated, E and L spouses will continue to require an EAD (or an automatically extended EAD) as evidence of employment authorization. Under the terms of a settlement entered into on November 10, 2021, the changes to L-2 Forms I-94 will be made within 120 days.
Continue Reading USCIS Relaxes Rules for H-4, L-2, and E-2 Spouse Work Permits
On November 1, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) found that labor shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic do not qualify as a “one-time occurrence” justifying the hiring of H-2B temporary workers. The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary non-agricultural positions in the United States. Before hiring an H-2B worker, the employer must file an application with DOL. In particular, the employer must demonstrate that a “temporary” need for foreign workers exists due to: (1) a one-time occurrence; (2) the seasonal nature of the business; (3) a short-term spike in demand (i.e., a peak load); or (4) the intermittent nature of the work.
Continue Reading DOL Finds that Pandemic is not Sufficiently “Temporary” for H-2B Program
Effective November 8, 2021, the Biden Administration will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa. In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans. On October 25, 2021, the White House provided specific operational details describing how the program will be implemented and who will — and will not — be impacted by the new rules.
Continue Reading U.S. Announces Operational Details for Replacement of Travel Bans with Vaccine Mandate on November 8
On October 15, 2021, the Biden Administration confirmed that it will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa effective November 8, 2021. In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans.
Continue Reading U.S. to Replace Travel Bans with Vaccine Mandates on November 8th
On October 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will reopen the U.S. land borders with Mexico and Canada for non-essential travel for vaccinated travelers. Non-essential travel includes tourism and family visits. Land and ferry crossings from Canada and Mexico have been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020. DHS indicated that this policy change will align land border crossings with the new international air travel COVID-19 prevention protocols to be implemented in November 2021. Accordingly, it does not appear as if U.S. citizens will be required to be vaccinated to enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico. Similar to the the new rules for international air travel, DHS has not announced a specific day in November that the land borders with Canada and Mexico would be reopened for non-essential travel.
Continue Reading US to Reopen Border with Mexico and Canada