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Immigration Alert: Vaccine Requirements & USCIS Updates

USCIS Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements

Starting October 1, the USCIS will require all intending immigrants to demonstrate they have been vaccinated against Covid-19. The requirement includes an exception for children who are too young to receive the vaccine, as well as individuals who have medical conditions that mean they cannot be vaccinated. There will also be a waiver process for individuals who object to the vaccine on religious or other grounds. The Covid-19 vaccination will be added to the usual list of required vaccinations for immigrants and failure to have the vaccine would make an immigrant inadmissible to the United States.

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USCIS Extends Validity Period for Conditional Permanent Residents

In a decision that confirms some of the huge backlogs facing the immigration system, the USCIS has extended the validity period of Conditional Permanent Resident’s receipt notices from 18 to 24 months. Applications to Remove Conditions have been severely backlogged during the last 2-3 years and the USCIS has been hampered in addressing the backlog. Conditional Permanent Residents are advised to monitor their receipt notices carefully and if necessary, work to obtain an I-551 stamp as evidence of status or taking other action such as applying for U.S. Citizenship if they are eligible to speed up their case processing.

Department of State Outlines Triage Approach to Immigrant Visa Appointments Worldwide

Over the last few weeks, the Department of State has outlined a tiered approach to deal with the vast backlog of matters awaiting adjudication at Consulates and Embassies around the world. Cases will be decided based on priorities, with family reunification topping the list. The priority tiers are as follows:

  • Tier One: Immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases (cases where the applicant will soon no longer qualify due to their age), certain Special Immigrant Visas (SQ and SI for Afghan and Iraqi nationals working with the U.S. government), and emergency cases as determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Tier Two: Immediate relative visas; fiancé(e) visas; and returning resident visas
  • Tier Three: Family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. Government abroad
  • Tier Four: All other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas

It should also be pointed out that the Department of State has confirmed an “all hands-on deck” approach right now to deal with the influx of Afghan refugees, asylees and associated immigrants following the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the region.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Succeeds Against Wage Based H1B Rule

In a victory against one of the last Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant actions, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sided with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in setting aside a rule that would have changed the H1B lottery to an entirely wage based system. The DHS final rule entitled “Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions” will be set aside, according to the court, because Chad Wolf was not lawfully appointed as Acting DHS Secretary at the time that DHS promulgated the rule. The court follows a similar approach as the Behring matter regarding the EB5 Modernization Rule.

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.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at (202) 787-1900, or click the link below to book a consultation online.

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