United States – Immigration Alerts

PresidentPresident Trump Issues Revised Executive Order 

By: Marifrances Morrison, Justin S. CoffeyJacob D. Cherry, Marissa E. Cwik 

What has changed

On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a revised Executive Order (EO), Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, which suspends admission to the United States for certain foreign nationals from the following six (6) designated countries for ninety (90) days: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which had been included in the previous EO, has been removed. The ninety (90) days suspension may be extended, and the order establishes a process by which other countries can be added to the designated countries. The order also suspends refugee admissions and refugee adjudication of requests for refugee status from all nationals of all countries for a period of 120 days commencing March 16, 2017 and suspends the Visa Waiver program indefinitely. The EO will go into effect on March 16, 2017, at 12:01 A.M (EST) and rescinds the prior order once effective.

Who is affected?

  • Foreign nationals from the six (6) designated countries who do not hold a currently valid visa or did not hold a valid visa on January 27, 2017
  • Refugees/refugee applicants who are not scheduled for transit prior to March 16, 2017
  • Foreign nationals previously eligible for the Visa Waiver program

What to expect

The total number of refugees able to be admitted to the United States for fiscal year (FY) 2017 is 50,000.

The following foreign nationals remain eligible to request admission to the United States:

  • foreign nationals from one of the designated countries who currently hold a valid visa;
  • foreign nationals from one of the designated countries who held a valid visa on January 27, 2017;
  • lawful permanent residents;
  • foreign nationals who hold a document other than a visa that is a valid on the effective date of the EO or is issued after the EO that permits travel or the ability to request admission to the United States, including advance parole documents;
  • a dual national of a designated and non-designated country traveling on a passport from a non-designated country;
  • foreign nationals from the designated countries who apply for diplomatic or diplomatic-type visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United States, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas; and
  • any foreign national granted asylum; any refugee already admitted to the United States; and individuals granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Foreign nationals from the six (6) countries are allowed to apply for a waiver of a suspension.Waivers will be granted at the discretion of the U.S Department of State Consular Officer and U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP), on a case-by-case basis.

The EO also directs the State Department to suspend the Visa Waiver program that had previously been available for renewing visas at certain U.S consulates. As such, foreign nationals from countries previously eligible for the Visa Waiver Program should anticipate considerably longer appointment times when renewing their visas.

What you need to do

Planning ahead

  • If you are a citizen of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, be aware of the travel ban on entering the United States.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

 

Marifrances Morrison is a Shareholder in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins
Justin S. Coffey is a Shareholder in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins
Jacob D. Cherry is an Associate in the Atlanta office of Ogletree Deakins
Marissa E. Cwik is an Associate in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins

United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) Announces Suspension of Premium Processing Services for all H1-B Cases

By: Marifrances Morrison, Jacob D. Cherry, Whitney LarsonMarissa E. Cwik 

What has changed

On March 3, 2017, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) unexpectedly announced it will temporarily suspend its premium processing service for all H1-B petitions received on or after April 3, 2017. The suspension will impact all H1-B quota cases for fiscal year 2018, as well as H1-B petitions that are exempt from the annual quota. The agency explained the suspension as a step to allow the agency to catch up on long-pending petitions, as well as prioritize H1-B extension petitions that are nearing 240 days past expiration. At this time, the premium processing service remains available for other eligible nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories.

Who is affected?

  • All clients filing for H-1B visas
  • Employees filing/re-filing for H1-B visas

What to expect

The premium processing program had previously allowed an H1-B petitioner to pay an additional government filing fee to USCIS in return for a guarantee that the agency will issue a decision on the case within fifteen (15) calendar days. Since April 3, 2017 is the first business day of the month, this suspension will impact all H-1B quota cases filed for Fiscal Year 2018 as well as H-1B petitions that are exempt from the annual quota (such as extensions of stay, requests to amend existing H-1B status, and requests for changes of employer).The suspension may last up to six (6) months. However, the USCIS may expedite a petition or application, at the agency’s discretion, if it meets certain criteria (i.e. for emergencies and humanitarian efforts).

What you need to do

Planning Ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client. 
Marifrances Morrison is a Shareholder in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins
Jacob D. Cherry is an Associate in the Atlanta office of Ogletree Deakins
Whitney Larson is an Associate in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins

Marissa E. Cwik is an Associate in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins