1. December 2021 Visa Bulletin: Steady Advancement in EB-2 and No Advancement in EB-3 Employment-based Categories; No Advancement in Family-based Categories
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for December 2021, which shows steady advancement in EB-2 and no advancement in EB-3 employment-based categories, and no movement in family-based categories. The cutoff dates for issuance of employment-based immigrant visas are as follows:
EB-1: All countries are current.
EB-2: China advanced 1.5 months to January 1, 2019; India advanced 5 months to May 1, 2012. All other countries are current.
EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China remains at March 22, 2018; India remains at January 15, 2012. All other countries are current.
USCIS will accept adjustment of status applications F2A Spouses and Minor Children of Green Card Holders based on the “Final Action Dates” charts, and all other family-based cases and all employment-based cases based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.
The December 2021 Visa Bulletin can be found here.
2. USCIS Conducts Third Random Selection from Previously Submitted FY 2022 H-1B Cap Electronic Registrations
On November 19, 2021, USCIS announced that it has conducted a third random selection of previously submitted FY 2022 H-1B cap registrations that day in order to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. The petition filing period for the registrations selected on November 19, 2021 will begin on November 22, 2021, and close on February 23, 2022.
H-1B cap-subject petitions must be properly filed at the correct USCIS service center and within the period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice.
USCIS’ alert can be found here.
3. Employment Authorization for Certain E, H-4, and L Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses
On November 12, 2021, USCIS issued policy guidance implementing an automatic extension of employment authorization document (EAD) validity for certain E, H-4, and L-2 nonimmigrant dependent spouses who have filed a timely application to extend their EAD and have an unexpired I-94 for E, H-4, or L-2 status, effective immediately.
Eligible E, H-4, and L-2 spouses will receive an automatic employment authorization extension through the earlier of: 1) the expiration of their valid E/H/L I-94; 2) the approval or denial of their EAD renewal application; or 3) 180 days from the expiration of their previous EAD.
USCIS will also recognize E and L dependent spouses as work authorized incident to their nonimmigrant status, without an EAD, but only if they hold an I-94 specifically annotated to indicate their spousal status. E and L spouses who receive an I-94 with a spousal annotation will be able to file an I-765 EAD application if they want one.
The policy on work authorization incident to status does not apply to spouses of E-2 Long-Term Investors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) or to dependents of E nonimmigrant employees of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) or the Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECO), who must continue to hold an EAD in order to work.
USCIS’ alert can be found here.
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES
President Biden Issues New Regional COVID Public Health Travel Ban for Several African Countries in Response to Omicron Variant
On November 26, 2021, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation imposing a COVID-19 public health travel ban which prohibits the entry of foreign nationals who have been physically present in one of these South African countries at any point the preceding 14 days before their scheduled arrival to the U.S.:
South Africa; and
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families are exempted from this restriction. If you are returning from one of these countries, you should stay home and monitor your health.
The travel ban takes effect at 12:01am EST on November 29, 2021, and will remain in place until terminated by the President.
New rules for international air travelers remain in effect for those who qualify for any of the exceptions to the Southern African COVID ban. These rules have been in effect since November 8, 2021, and require COVID vaccination and testing for most foreign nationals traveling to the United States.
The Presidential Proclamation can be found here.
ALG Celebrates the Latest Group of Clients in China on Receiving Their EB-1A and EB-2 NIW Green Cards
On November 23, 2021, a celebratory dinner was held successfully in Shanghai, China for the latest group of clients in China who recently received their green cards. ALG previously successfully assisted these clients in obtaining USCIS approval for their EB-1A and EB-2 NIW petitions.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and in celebration of this group of clients, Chris Cheng appeared via video at the celebratory dinner and represented ALG in congratulating these incoming immigrants.
ALG attorneys have extensive experience working on EB-1A and EB-2 NIW cases. Reach out to us to learn more about these immigrant visas!