“Pursuant to the July 16, 2021 Order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Texas v. United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is enjoined from granting initial DACA requests. All individuals whose DACA requests were granted prior to this decision will continue to have and be eligible to renew DACA, and to request and receive advance parole, consistent with the court’s order. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide additional specific operational guidance in the coming days.
USCIS has announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements. Individuals eligible for TPS under Haiti’s new designation must file an application for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the registration period that will begin upon publication of the Federal Register notice. This includes current beneficiaries under Haiti’s TPS designation, who will need to file a new application to register for TPS to ensure they do not lose TPS or experience a gap in coverage. Individuals filing for TPS may also request an Employment Authorization Document and travel authorization. All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility.
The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list. Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for July 2021: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2021/visa-bulletin-for-July-2021.html
Effective June 14, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, VT facility, which is being decommissioned.
Mail sent to the previous addresses will be forwarded for one year, but any mail sent to the previous addresses after June 2022 may be returned to the sender by the United States Postal Service or the courier service used.
USCIS has issued new policy updates in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve request for evidence (RFE) and notice of intent to deny (NOID) guidance; and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.
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The U.S. Department of State has issued a national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamations related to the spread of COVID-19. As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States; journalists; students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs; immigrants; and fiancés may now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE).
The Department of State also continues to grant NIEs for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security. These travelers and any others who believe their travel to be in the United States’ national interest should also review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instruction on how to contact them.
USCIS has updated its visitor policy. Fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a face covering. Individuals two years old and older who are not fully vaccinated must still wear a face covering. To be considered fully vaccinated, it must be at least two weeks after receiving a second dose in a two-dose series or at least two weeks after receiving a dose of a single-dose vaccine.
U.S. embassies and consulates are using a tiered approach to triage immigrant visa applications based on the category of immigrant visa as they resume and expand processing. The following lists the main categories of immigrant visas in priority order:
- Tier One: Immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases (cases where the applicant will soon no longer qualify due to their age), and certain Special Immigrant Visas (SQ and SI for Afghan and Iraqi nationals working with the U.S. government)
- Tier Two: Immediate relative visas; fiancé(e) visas; and returning resident visas
- Tier Three: Family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. government abroad
- Tier Four: All other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas
Many embassies and consulates continue to have a significant backlog of all categories of immigrant visas. This prioritization plan instructs posts to maximize their limited resources to accommodate as many immediate relative and fiancé(e) cases as possible with a goal of, at a minimum, preventing the backlog from growing in these categories and hopefully reducing it. However, the prioritization plan also instructs posts to schedule and adjudicate some cases in Tier Three and Tier Four each month. The Department recognizes that visa applicants, particularly those in Tiers Three and Four, will face continued delays.
The Department of Homeland Security today published a Federal Register notice (FRN)designating Burma for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, effective May 25, 2021, through Nov. 25, 2022. The designation of Burma for TPS allows an estimated 1,600 Burmese nationals (or individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Burma) who have been continuously residing in the United States since March 11, 2021, and continuously physically present in the United States since May 25, 2021, to file initial applications to obtain TPS. Applicants must also meet additional TPS eligibility requirements.
Individuals applying for TPS under the designation of Burma must submit an initial Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from May 25, 2021, through Nov. 22, 2021. Applicants may also be eligible to apply for TPS-related Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization.