1. September 2021 Visa Bulletin: Huge Advancement in EB-2 Employment-based Advanced Degree Category; Slow Advancement in Family-based Categories
The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for September 2021, which shows huge advancement in EB-2 employment-based category for Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability, and slow 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 3 months to July 1, 2018; India advanced 3 months to September 1, 2011. All other countries are current.
EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China remains at January 8, 2019; India advanced 6 months to January 1, 2014. 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 September 2021 Visa Bulletin can be found here.
2. DHS Seeks Public Comment on Public Charge Rulemaking
On August 20, 2021, USCIS announced that DHS is seeking data and information from the public that it intends to use to develop a public charge regulatory proposal. The purpose of public comment is to ensure that the proposal is fair, consistent with law, and informed by relevant data and evidence. Public comment also will help DHS ensure that the proposed regulation does not impose undue burdens on non-citizens seeking admission to or adjustment of status in the United States.
DHS has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit data and information from the public. The ANPRM identifies key considerations associated with the public charge ground of inadmissibility. These considerations include how DHS should define the term “public charge,” which public benefits DHS should consider relevant to the public charge inadmissibility determination, and how DHS should assess the mandatory statutory factors when determining whether a noncitizen is likely to become a public charge. The public comment period is open for 60 days, beginning August 23, 2021, and closing October 22, 2021.
3. USCIS Temporarily Extends Validity Period of Form I-693
On August 12, 2021, USCIS announced that it is temporarily extending the validity period for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, from two years to four years due to COVID-19-related delays in processing.
USCIS may consider a completed Form I-693 as valid if:
The Civil Surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
No more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; and
A decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 is issued on or before September 30, 2021.
USCIS is on track to approve more employment-based adjustment of status applications than it has since FY 2005. USCIS have been prioritizing employment-based adjustment of status applications during every step of its processing and adjudication during this fiscal year.
If you are applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident, you should file Form I-693 together with Form I-485 to USCIS. Doing so may eliminate the need for USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) and helps avoid adjudication delays.
4. USCIS Expands Partnership with the Social Security Administration
On August 9, 2021, USCIS announced that applicants filing for lawful permanent resident status are now able to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or replacement card as part of the adjustment of status application process, effective immediately.
Applicants previously had to apply for a Social Security number at a Social Security office.
After approving a green card application, USCIS will electronically transmit the date to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Upon receiving the date, the SSA will automatically assign an original SSN or issue a replacement card, as appropriate.
5. USCIS Removes Barriers to U.S. Citizenship for Children Born Abroad Through Assisted Reproductive Technology
On August 5, 2021, USCIS announced that it updated the policy guidance regarding the determination of whether a child born outside the U.S., including a child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), is considered born “in wedlock”.
This policy update will allow a non-genetic, non-gestational legal parent of a child to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child if the parent is married to the child’s genetic or gestational parent at the time of the child’s birth, and the relevant jurisdiction recognizes both parents as the child’s legal parents.
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES
Further Extension of Restrictions on US-Canada and US-Mexico Borders Until September 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 August 20, 2021, these measures were further extended until September 21, 2021, which marks the seventeenth extension since implementation. These restrictions do not apply to entry through U.S. airports.
DHS’ twitter update can be found here.