Employment Immigration: Continued Changes From USCIS and the State Department With COVID-19, Travel Bans and Processing

Business immigration in the United States continues the roller coaster ride of the last six months. With the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. immigration has been subjected to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office and consulate closures, travel bans, a three-month suspension of premium processing, and rumors of USCIS furloughs. This short article will address some of the most recent updates.

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New Executive Order Temporarily Suspends Entry of Certain Immigrants

On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order (“Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak”) temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Order, effective April 23, 2020, is valid for an initial 60-day period and may be extended or modified within this period.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Business Immigration and Coronavirus: Latest Announcements from USCIS and DOL

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Labor (DOL) sent a flurry of operational updates late last week. These updates include a suspension of premium processing for FY2021 H-1B cap petitions, which was quickly followed by a suspension of premium processing for Form I-129 nonimmigrant visa petitions (H-1B, L-1, TN, O-1 and more work visas) and I-140 immigrant visa petitions. USCIS also sent an announcement relaxing certain “wet” original signatures on forms and an update relaxing some I-9 requirements.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Cancellations, Closures and Travel Restrictions: Coronavirus Strikes Immigration System Again

Since our last update a week ago, additional and significant immigration developments have taken place in the U.S. and around the world and continue to change. Reports on March 19, 2020, also indicate that the State Department will be announcing a Level 4 travel advisory applying to all international travel. It is expected that this announcement will tell Americans that they must remain in the U.S., and Americans also would be instructed not to travel abroad. With such fluidity of country and border closures, closures of embassies and consulates around the world, and now U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices, we are providing an overview of the issues and links to government websites where you can find the most updated information on these important immigration and global mobility issues affecting companies in the U.S. and around the world.

For the full alert, please visit the Faegre Drinker website.

U.S. Hikes Visa Fees, Changes Validity Periods for Dutch Citizens

Visa issuance fees and validity periods are set based on reciprocity. If a country charges U.S. citizens $50 to receive a visa, then the U.S. will charge citizens of that country a similar amount for a U.S. visa. In 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13780, which requires that the U.S. State Department undertake a worldwide review of reciprocity arrangements with a view to updating any discrepancies.

Reciprocity Updates

Without notice, and effective immediately on January 31, 2020, the U.S. State Department’s visa reciprocity chart was updated to reflect new visa issuance fees for Dutch citizens applying for Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) nonimmigrant visas. Additionally, E-1 and E-2 visa validity periods have been significantly shortened — from five to three years. The chart below highlights the most significant changes to routinely used visa categories:
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