• Ashenberg Law Group

January 2022 Newsletter

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IMMIGRATION UPDATES

 

1. January 2022 Visa Bulletin: Slow 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 January2022, which shows slow 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 21 days to January 22, 2019; India advanced 10 weeks to July 8, 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 January 2022 Visa Bulletin can be found here.


2. USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests


On December 30, 2021, USCIS announced that it is extending its flexibility for applicants and petitioners responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE), Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR), Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment center, as well as filing date requirements for Notice of Appeal or Motion, etc., dated between March 1, 2020 and March 26, 2022, inclusive, USCIS will consider responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response date set forth in the notices.


USCIS’ alert can be found here.


3. Waiver of Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas


On December 23, 2021, the Secretary of State, in consultation with DHS, has authorized consular officers through the end of 2022 to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved by USCIS. This new authorization applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.


In addition, the Secretary extended previously approved policies to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants), as well as certain H-2 visa applicants, through the end of 2022. Applicants must apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.


Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration are also eligible for interview waiver.


DOS‘ alert can be found here.


4. DHS Withdraws H-1B Selection Final Rule


On December 21, 2021, DHS published a final rule that withdraws the H-1B Selection Final Rule. This rule was vacated by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


The rule would have changed the way USCIS selects H-1B registrations (or petitions, if registration is suspended) submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file an H-1B cap-subject petition by ranking and selecting registrations based generally on corresponding wage levels, instead of computer-generated random selection.


USCIS‘ alert can be found here.


5. Waiver of Personal Appearance and Interview Requirements for Certain Immigrant Visa Applicants Issued Visas on or after August 4, 2019


On December 13, 2021, DOS announced that consular officers may waive the personal appearance and interview requirements for certain replacement immigrant visa applicants under a new Temporary Final Rule, which expires on December 13, 2023.


To qualify for the waiver and not needing to make another in-person appearance before a consular officer for an interview, execution of their application, and oath, the immigrant visa applicant: 1) has an immigrant visa issued on or after August 4, 2019; 2) did not travel to the U.S. on the immigrant visa; and 3) seeks and remains qualified for an immigrant visa in the same classification as the expired immigrant visa or in certain automatic category conversions, and pursuant to the same approved petition.


DOS‘ alert can be found here.


6. Temporary Waiver of “60-Day Rule” for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record


On December 9, 2021, USCIS announced that it is temporarily waiving the requirement that the civil surgeon sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, no more than 60 days before an applicant files an application for the underlying immigration benefit (including Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).


This temporary waiver is effective December 9, 2021 until September 30, 2022.


USCIS‘ alert can be found here.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES

 

CDC Tightens COVID-19 Testing Requirement for International Travel to the U.S. to One Day


On December 2, 2021, CDC updated pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for air travelers to the U.S.


Starting on December 6, 2021, air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the U.S.


This revision strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated.


CDC‘s alert can be found here.