Immigration updates in the US

The suspension on the issuance of H-1B, L-1, J-1, and H-2B visas expired on March 31, 2021.  The expiration of the visa ban is a welcome development, but there are still many restrictions on visa issuance across the world. Here are the primary takeaways for the current state of Immigration (please also see Green and Spiegel’s blog on the expiration and the current state of visa issuance):

  • Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending H-1B, H-2B, J and L admissions, expired March 31, 2021.
  • Ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) public health travel restrictions remain in place, requiring travelers from certain areas to qualify for national interest exceptions (NIE)before they can receive a visa or travel to the United States;
    • These restrictions state that if a traveler has been physically present in any of the below areas in the last fourteen days, he/she is not permitted to enter the United States without an NIE wavier.
    • Importantly, on March 31, the Biden administration clarified its travel policy for the affected areas and now prohibits visa issuance in the below areas unless the applicant is pre-approved for the NIE.
    • The affected areas are as follows:
      • Schengen Area;
      • UK;
      • Ireland;
      • Brazil;
      • China;
      • South Africa;
      • Iran.
  • For the rest of the world, U.S. Consulates are still operating at severely reduced levels and will have to work through backlogs as the pandemic ends.
  • Many consulates around the world are still granting interviews to applicants, but then prior to the interviews (or at the beginning of the month, depending on the consulate in question), will cancel the interview.  So the scheduling of an interview in no way guarantees visa issuance or even the ability to attend an interview.
  • Last, there have been rumors that the public health travel restriction will be lifted mid-May. This is not certain, but we will be sure to provide updates as soon as we know about them.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us in case of questions related to US immigration. Expat Management Group works together with the US immigration law firm Green and Spiegel who would be happy to assist with any queries.

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