As of July 2022, Costa Rica officially opened the application process for the country’s new remote worker visa under the immigration category “Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers.” Like many countries, Costa Rica suffered a hit to its tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country created the digital nomad visa in an effort to attract long-term visitors and stimulate the local economy. The law enabling the new visa category was signed in August 2021, but administrative and logistical requirements have delayed implementation until now.

Continue Reading Costa Rica Launches New “Digital Nomad” Visa

Note: Updated to reflect the Department of Homeland Security’s notice on 9/15/2022 regarding the next phase of premium processing for petitioners who have a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition, under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding the availability of premium processing for certain pending, employment-based (EB) immigrant petitions, according to its recent alert. The changes specifically affect:

  • EB-1 multinational executives and managers; and
  • EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW).

This is the third phase of the previously announced plan to expand premium processing. The agency aims to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the immigration system.

Continue Reading Need a Decision Faster? DHS Expands Premium Processing for Certain Employment-Based Petitions

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is experiencing longer-than-usual processing times for key employment-based visa categories, according to data released by the government. Specifically, expanded processing times have been recorded for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa and the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa. The expanded processing times come amid recent changes to Australia’s permanent residency pathways and the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. 

Continue Reading Expanded Government Processing Times for Australian Visas

The European Commission has announced the creation of an automated electronic visa waiver program, the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS), to be launched in May 2023. The new visa waiver program is intended to facilitate travel across borders while better identifying security risks for the bloc. ETIAS is one of several recent updates to the European Union’s migration scheme, including the digitalization of Schengen visas.

Continue Reading EU Announces Long-Awaited Electronic Visa Waiver Program

Employers are responsible for verifying the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. The Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) is critical to any employer’s onboarding process for new hires, but ongoing Form I-9 maintenance is equally important with respect to existing employees who need to renew their work authorization documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some employers have faced challenges in this regard following DHS’s recent announcement of a Temporary Final Rule increasing the automatic extension period for employment authorization for certain individuals from 180 to 540 days. The rule was intended to provide additional security to both employees and employers while their renewal applications are being adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the rule also raises significant considerations for employers seeking to maintain proper Form I-9 compliance and avoid liability for past errors.

Continue Reading Critical Form I-9 Compliance Risks as DHS Changes Work Authorization Rules

The “Ukraine Crisis: Ten Key Questions” Q+A series focuses on the fast-evolving crisis in Ukraine with each episode concentrating on specific points of discussion. In this episode, Amy Jacks (Restructuring partner, London) asks Liz Stern (Global Head of Mobility and Managing Partner, Washington DC) ten key questions on mobility.

It provides you with a quick and easy way to stay on top of how the situation is rapidly developing and provides you with insights that will allow you to assess the impact of significant developments on your business.

Video duration: approximately 17 minutes

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 to the United States from a foreign country at or after 12:01am ET (4:01am GMT) on Sunday, June 12, 2022. Accordingly, passengers will no longer need to present test results before boarding an aircraft flying to the United States. The CDC still recommends that travelers test for COVID-19 before and after travel.

Prior orders requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for most noncitizens who are nonimmigrants traveling to the United States are still in effect.

Effective June 1, 2022, the Italian government has lifted all COVID-related entry requirements for international travelers. Under the new rules, travelers are no longer required to conduct pre- or post-arrival testing, complete pre-departure registration, or demonstrate proof of vaccination. The elimination of COVID-related entry requirements makes Italy part of a growing number of countries that have loosened or eliminated COVID-related entry requirements on international travelers, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.

Continue Reading Italy Eliminates All COVID-Related Entry Requirements

Effective May 23, 2022, South Korea has loosened its pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for foreign nationals. Specifically, foreign nationals seeking to enter the country can now present either a negative PCR test or a supervised rapid antigen test (RAT). Previously, only PCR tests were accepted. The RAT must be conducted by a health care provider such as a hospital or clinic; at-home RATs are not accepted. South Korea’s move represents another incremental relaxation of the country’s COVID-19 entry requirements and follows the easing of quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers in April.

Continue Reading South Korea Updates COVID-19 Entry Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept premium processing requests on a rolling basis for certain immigrant petitions (Form I-140) for multinational executives/managers and for members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. Immigrant petitions (Form I-140) are filed by employers sponsoring employees and individuals for US permanent residency (the US green card).  This is the first implementation phase of the previously announced premium processing expansion.

Employers will be able to request premium processing (expedited adjudication based on a government filing fee) in a staggered approach for the newly-included categories, but note that this benefit applies only to cases filed on or before a specific date in 2021.

Premium Processing May Be Requested Beginning On: Case Type Filed On or Before
June 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives January 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives March 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-2 National Interest Waivers June 1, 2021

Continue Reading Long Awaited Expansion of Expedited Processing: EB-1 and EB-2 Employment Cases