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Immigration Alert: U.S. System Overhaul & More

Revisions to the National Interest Exemptions

The Department of State has released updated guidance regarding the National Interest Exemption process for travelers subject to health-related travel bans, i.e. travelers who have spent time in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The new guidance harmonizes the National Interest Exemption rules throughout the affected areas. Crucially, this new guidance allows for the processing of student cases for all affected areas, which previously was not the case.

USCIS Updates its Visitor Policy

In line with a national trend of easing of restrictions, the USCIS has updated its visitor policy, allowing “fully vaccinated” individuals to not have to wear a face covering. Fully vaccinated individuals are defined as anyone who is two weeks past their final dose of the vaccine. The guidance does not explicitly state that vaccination evidence is required. According to the USCIS, individuals two years old and older who are not fully vaccinated must wear a face covering.

NY Times Reports on Ambitious Proposals to Overhaul the Immigration System

The New York Times has reported on a draft blueprint of the Biden Administration’s plans to overhaul the U.S. immigration system. The draft document is entitled “D.H.S. Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System” and includes a core tenant of addressing backlogs in the immigration system. According to the New York times, the document was laid out as follows: “Divided into seven sections, the document offers detailed policy proposals that would help more foreigners move to the United States, including high-skilled workers, trafficking victims, the families of Americans living abroad, American Indians born in Canada, refugees, asylum-seekers and farm workers. Immigrants who apply online could pay less in fees or even secure a waiver in an attempt to “reduce barriers” to immigration. Regulations would be overhauled to “encourage full participation by immigrants in our civic life.” This outline shows a broad departure from the Trump Administration’s restrictive policies, which lead to less applications being processed and almost bankrupted the USCIS. Also included in the documents is proposed expansion of electronic filings and virtual interviews, which is very significant as it would speed up legal immigration processing significantly.

Tully Rinckey is able to assist people and organizations world-wide with domestic and international immigration matters. Attorney Michael Freestone is well versed in representing large corporations and is able to navigate complex immigration issues and analyze the facts and recommend the best course of action.

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