On July 14, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order that has redefined the country’s relationship with Hong Kong. The Executive Order appears to be in retaliation to the Chinese government’s legislative actions in May that imposed national security measures on Hong Kong. Specifically, the President denounced the actions of the People’s Republic of China

Some 70% of the 20,000 employees of US Citizenship & Immigration Services, the agency within Homeland Security that adjudicates visa-related benefits for all foreign workers, could face furloughs starting as early as August 3, 2020, unless Congress provides $1.2 billion in emergency funding. This budget shortfall was caused by a dramatic decrease in the number

In a media release issued on July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced a rollback of the protections it afforded to foreign students in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The July 6 release announced that foreign students will no longer be eligible for F-1 visas or to remain in the United States to participate in online-only courses of study. Coming only six weeks before the start of the fall semester, the guidance has raised serious concerns for premier US universities, for which foreign students provide one of the greatest sources of revenue, already leading Harvard and MIT to file suit challenging the sudden reversal in posture only six weeks before the start of the fall semester. Other major universities, accompanied by business groups and a number of state attorneys general, are considering challenges to the new policy.

The policy change is expected to affect an estimated more than 1 million student visa holders in the United States, as well as others presently outside the United States who have been admitted for the fall semester.  Students currently in the United States and planning to attend schools that have elected to offer online-only classes in the fall 2020 semester “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school offering in-person instruction to remain in lawful status” per the release.


Continue Reading New ICE Directive Threatens Status of More Than One Million Foreign Students and Prompts Immediate Lawsuit

On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed Proclamation 10052, suspending four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies—H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas—for the rest of the calendar year and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. For

President Trump signed a proclamation on June 22, 2020, suspending four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies – H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas – for the rest of the calendar year, and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. The executive order does not affect visa holders already in the United States who do not travel abroad, or those who are abroad but have already obtained a visa or other travel document. Additionally, the order extends the provisions of the President’s April 22, 2020, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” which suspended for 60 days the issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States.

The order also includes a mandate for subsequent rulemaking to address a wide-ranging series of measures including imposition of new recruitment and compliance obligations on employers, development of a revised regulatory scheme for allocation of and eligibility qualification for H-1B visas, and provision of enhanced investigative and exclusionary authority for consular and port officials.

The June 22, 2020, proclamation immediately extends the immigrant visa suspension, while the entry restrictions for H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and J-1 visas will take effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. EDT. Both provisions are effective until December 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Trump Order Suspends Major Visa Categories, Including H-1B and L-1, Through the End of the Calendar Year, With Rulemaking Restrictions to Follow

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidance posted on April 13, 2020, provides nonimmigrant visa holders and Visa Waiver visitors who find themselves unable to timely depart the United States, with options to remain in the United States lawfully.  Our post on the COVID-19 Response Blog, “Multiple Courses to Seek Additional Time to Remain in

On May 31, 2019, the US Department of State (“DOS” or “Department”) updated its visa application forms to require persons seeking US visas to disclose their social media identifiers.  The DOS defines “identifier” to include any name used on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  The Department’s FAQs state that the information

On April 22, 2019, the Department of State published a final rule setting out procedures that allow consular officers to discontinue granting visas to nationals of a country subject to sanctions under § 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Section 243(d) provides that—when notified by the Secretary of Homeland Security that a foreign country government has denied or unreasonably delayed accepting an alien who is the citizen, subject, national, or resident of that country and is subject to a final order of removal from the United States— the Secretary of State shall order consular officers in that foreign country to “discontinue granting” immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, or both to citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents in that country. The Secretary of State imposes these visa sanctions by issuing an order to consular officers that describes the category or categories of visas and applicants subject to discontinuation of visa grants.


Continue Reading New Department of State Rules Empower Consulates to Discontinue Visa Issuance to Nationals of Countries Sanctioned under INA 243(D)