• Ashenberg Law Group

July 2021 Newsletter

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IMMIGRATION UPDATES

1. July 2021 Visa Bulletin: Huge Advancement in Most Employment-based Categories; Steady Advancement in Family-based Categories


The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for July 2021, which shows huge advancement in most employment-based categories, and steady advancement 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 7 months to December 1, 2017; India advanced 7 months to June 1, 2011. All other countries are current.

  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China advanced 4 months to January 1, 2019; India advanced 14 months to January 1, 2013. All other countries are current.

USCIS will accept adjustment of status applications for all employment-based cases and F2A Spouses and Minor Children of Green Card Holders based on the “Final Action Dates” charts, and all other family-based cases based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.

The July 2021 Visa Bulletin can be found here.


2. USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests


On June 24, 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 September 30, 2021, 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. USCIS To Allow Resubmission of Certain FY 2021 H-1B Petitions Rejected or Closed Due to Start Date before October 1, 2021


On June 23, 2021, USCIS announced that it will allow resubmission of certain FY 2021 H-1B petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020.


Petitions that fulfill the above-mentioned requirements may resubmit the previously filed petition with all applicable fees before October 1, 2021. If properly submitted, USCIS will consider the petition to have been filed on the original receipt date.


These petitions must include the FY 2021 H-1B cap registration selection notice, and the rejection or administrative closure notice for the original FY 2021 H-1B cap petition, if available.


USCIS’ alert can be found here.


4. USCIS Policy Updates to Clarify Guidelines on Expedited Processing, RFEs and NOIDs, and EAD Validity Period


On June 9, 2021, USCIS issued three policy updates in the Policy Manual to clarify expedited processing criteria, improve RFE and NOID guidance, and increase the validity period for initial and renewal EADs for certain pending adjustment of status applications, all effective immediately.


Expedited Processing: USCIS may expedite a benefit request if it falls under one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Severe financial loss to the company or person (where urgent need is not the result of petitioner/applicant’s failure to timely file the petition/application, or timely respond to RFEs)

  • Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons

  • Nonprofit organizations whose requests are in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the U.S.

  • U.S. government interests

  • Clear USCIS error

RFEs and NOIDs: USCIS is returning to the principles of the 2013 policy by issuing RFEs and NOIDs when additional evidence could demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit. The policy update will ensure that petitioners/applicants are given an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions.


EAD Validity Period: USCIS will increase the current 1-year validity period on initial and renewal EADs to 2 years for certain adjustment of status applicants.


USCIS’ alert can be found here.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES

Further Extension of Restrictions on US-Canada and US-Mexico Borders Until July 21, 2021


In order to limit the further spread of the coronavirus, on March 21, 2020, the U.S. reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. These joint initiatives were originally set to be in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of coronavirus pandemic developments. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.


On June 20, 2021, these measures were further extended until July 21, 2021, which marks the fifteenth extension since implementation. These restrictions do not apply to entry through U.S. airports.


DHS’ twitter update can be found here.