Immigrant Visa Ban Lifted
President Biden has revoked
Trump's presidential proclamation of April 22, 2020 that suspended the issuance of certain immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad. By way of background, immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals outside the United States and provide them with permanent resident status upon entry to the United States (not to be confused with nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B, L-1, E-3, etc., which provide only temporary U.S. status).
The revocation took effect on February 24, 2021 and U.S. consulates and embassies are now permitted to resume processing affected immigrant visa applications. However, due to reduced consular staffing worldwide as a result of COVID-19, applicants are likely to encounter significant delays in appointment scheduling. In addition, regional COVID bans still remain in place for travel from the UK, Ireland, Schengen area, China, Iran, Brazil, and South Africa.
The nonimmigrant work visa ban affecting certain H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 visa categories remains in effect and is set to expire on March 31. It is not expected to be extended.
Premium Processing Now Available for E-3 Petitions
Premium processing is now available
for E-3 filings with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This applies only for "in-country" change of status, change of employer, or extension of status petitions - not visa applications made at U.S. consulates or embassies abroad. The current premium processing fee is $2,500.
This can come in handy for situations where the employee is currently in the United States and wishes to change employers or change status to E-3, but is unable to depart and apply for the E-3 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad, which is common currently as a result of limited visa interview appointment availability at U.S. consulates and embassies due to COVID-19.
Regular E-3 USCIS processing times (without premium processing) is currently 6 - 7.5 months.
Reminder: H-1B Cap Registration Period Starting Soon
Friendly reminder that the H-1B registration period for fiscal year 2022 is opening in exactly one week from today (March 9th). If you haven't already, please reach out to us if you would like assistance with this process. Starting today (March 2nd), companies can start creating myUSCIS accounts as H-1B registrants if they don't have one already. More information about the new online registration process that started last year (and remains the same for this year) is available here
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (212) 495-9245 if you require any assistance.
You can access our previous Client Alerts here.