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U.S. Immigration Update

Client Update / Jun 02, 2020

NATIONAL USCIS UPDATES

1) PREMIUM PROCESSING RESUMES. In a rare positive development, USCIS has announced that over the next month they will resume Premium Processing in a staggered approach depending on type of petition.

  • As of June 1 : Premium Processing resumes for all I-140 Petitions
  • As of June 8: I-129 Petitions filed before June 8 (including cap-exempt H-1Bs) that are eligible for premium processing
  • As of June 15: cap exempt H-1B petitions
  • As of June 22: all other I-129 petitions eligible for premium processing, including cap-subject petitions

USCIS has also announced that these dates are subject to change as they monitor the number of requests they receive.

2) Application Support Centers (ASCs) will resume taking biometrics (fingerprints) from applicants sometime in July.

NEW YORK OFFICE UPDATES

1) As USCIS Field Offices reopen on June 4th, the New York Field Office remains closed. We have been directly informed by the District Director that on June 15, they will resume Oath Ceremonies for approximately 3,700 individuals who have been approved for citizenship and awaiting swearing-in.

2) There is no information at this time about when interviews will resume at this office, but the District Director has informed us that only approximately 20% of local staff will be working on-site at any time, and that remote interviews are being conducted.

3) Interviews of Diversity Visa applicants will be prioritized to that they can have their interviews before Sep 30.

CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION UPDATES

  • CBP continues to accept requests for Satisfactory Departure to extend the stay of visitors who entered on the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). The Port Director of JFK has informed us that they are currently receiving approximately 45 requests per day, with around 95% approval. CBP is currently allowing two requests of 30-day extensions, with the possibility that a third request may be necessary depending on how the situation develops. According to the Port Director, every request is adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Bans on entry from certain countries (including China, Iran, Brazil, and Schengen countries) by non-US citizens or green card holders remain in place. However, CBP local leadership has indicated to us that exemptions for non-immigrant workers are being interpreted expansively when individual is working in an ‘essential’ industry. Individuals should contact CBP within the 14 days of the intended travel to provide evidence that the entry would be for ‘essential’ work.

Please contact the Pearl Cohen US Business Immigration Group for any questions in connection with the above-stated.

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