IMMIGRATION UPDATE COVID-19

The Coronavirus Pandemic has brought many changes to the immigration system. To help guide you through some of these changes, below is a comprehensive list of immigration news and updates that have occurred during the last few weeks:

OFFICE CLOSURES/OPENINGS

  • USCIS office closures are extended until June 3, but will still accept filings and continue to process cases;
  • The NVC (National Visa Center) has had to reduce staff, which will cause correspondence delays;
  • Consulates are closed to in person interviews and are only processing emergency cases;
  • Both NVC and US Consulates are expediting approved I-140 petitions for health care workers.

POLICY CHANGES

  • I-765 extensions will be processed with previously used biometrics;
  • No premium processing for all I-129 and I-140 applications until further notice;
  • USCIS extends deadlines to respond to agency requests;
  • NVC will discontinue paper correspondence starting on June 1, 2020;
  • The opening of entrant status check for DV-2021 will be delayed until June 6, 2020;
  • Travel bans that were put into place on March 13, remain in place;
  • USCIS has been waiving interviews in some instances for adjustment of status cases;
  • Still no discussion from USCIS as to extending immigration status or benefit deadlines.

EXECUTIVE ORDER TO SUSPEND IMMIGRATION

  • Order effective on April 23, 2020 and set to last for 60 days;
  • Only applies to individuals OUTSIDE the US, those who DON’T have immigrant visas, and individuals who DON’T have a travel document or visa;
  • Order excludes legal permanent residents (LPR), individuals like healthcare professionals with immigrant visas, spouse or child of a US citizen, EB-5 applicants, and anyone whose entry would be of national interest.

UNEMPLOYMENT AND BENEFITS

  • Taking unemployment benefits will not apply as a public charge under the public benefit rule;
  • Individuals currently on a work visa who were terminated or laid off have a 60-day grace period to leave the country or obtain new qualified employment and change employer;
  • Some federally funded unemployment benefits are not available to non-US citizens or lawful permanent residents and may be considered against the public benefit rules;

SATISFACTORY DEPARTURE

  • Applies to individuals on ESTA who cannot leave the US before the 90 day stay;
  • Those who qualify can get a 30-day extension;
  • Those who have been granted satisfactory departure before and are still unable to leave may be granted an additional 30-day extension;
  • USCIS offices are accepting remote requests and adjudication of satisfactory departure requests;
  • Requestors should call USCIS at 800-375-5283 and the representative will give further instructions as to how to provide necessary documentation.

For more detailed information check out Andrea’s LIVE YouTube video below “Immigration Update During COVID-19”. Also make sure to CLICK HERE to check out our channel on YouTube where we frequently post videos discussing various immigration topics!

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