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U.S. Extends Nonessential Travel Restrictions at Canada, Mexico Land Borders; Canada Opens to U.S. Citizens/Permanent Residents August 9

The United States has once again extended travel restrictions at its borders with Canada and Mexico for nonessential travel into the United States at least through August 21, 2021. The United States has done so monthly since March 2020 in response to the pandemic.

Canadians and many other U.S.-bound international travelers can fly into the United States if they receive a negative COVID-19 test. Canada announced on July 19, 2021, that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents can enter the country as of August 9, 2021. U.S. travelers to Canada must submit information electronically through ArriveCAN, meet eligibility and testing requirements, and bring vaccination documentation.

Canada plans to open its borders for discretionary travelers from any country, traveling by any means, on September 7, 2021, if they have been fully vaccinated with Canadian government-accepted vaccines at least 14 days before entering Canada and meet specific entry requirements, “provided that Canada’s COVID-19 epidemiology remains favourable,” the government announced on July 19, 2021.

U.S. and Mexican officials “have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the United States and Mexico currently poses additional risk of transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 and places the populace of both nations at increased risk of contracting the virus associated with COVID–19,” the Federal Register notice for Mexico states. “Moreover, given the sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus, coupled with risks posed by new variants, returning to previous levels of travel between the two nations places the personnel staffing land ports of entry between the United States and Mexico, as well as the individuals traveling through these ports of entry, at increased risk of exposure to the virus associated with COVID-19.” The Federal Register notice for Canada makes similar statements.


Applicants for Change of Status to F-1 Student No Longer Need to Submit Subsequent Applications to ‘Bridge the Gap’

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) announced on July 20, 2021, new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 change of status application is pending.

Under the previous policy, applicants needed to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which required them to file extensions, or an initial change of status and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status, USCIS explained.

To prevent a gap in status, USCIS said it will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day the agency approves an applicant’s Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. If USCIS approves an application more than 30 days before the student’s program start date, the student must not violate F-1 status during that time. An example of a violation, USCIS said, “would be engaging in employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on their Form I-20.”

USCIS said it is revising the Form I-539 instructions to reflect these changes.


USCIS Updates Addresses for Filing Locations for Certain Forms I-131

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has adjusted the addresses for certain applicants filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. USCIS did not change any filing locations but “refined attention lines and ZIP codes to improve internal processes at our lockboxes.” The address update affects:

  • Applicants with a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, who are filing Form I-131 alone with a Form I-485 receipt notice;
  • Haitian family members filing for advance parole under the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program;
  • Cuban family members filing under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program;
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients;
  • Humanitarian parole applicants;
  • Refugee travel document applicants;
  • Temporary Protected Status applicants; and
  • All other applicants as noted on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 page.

USCIS said that it will still process any I-131 applications that were already mailed to the previous lockbox address.


Credit Card Payment Pilot Program Expanded for Certain Premium Processing Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 20, 2021, the expansion of a pilot program at the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) for accepting credit card payments using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, from certain applicants applying for premium processing.

On July 19, 2021, the NSC started accepting credit card payments using Form G-1450 for petitioners filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, or when filing Form I-907 to upgrade a pending Form I-140 to premium processing. The pilot continues to be limited to the NSC. At the end of the pilot, USCIS said, it “will evaluate the results and determine the next steps for expanding this payment option for other forms or other service centers. The goal of this pilot is to bring USCIS one step closer to accepting digital payments using a credit card at all service centers.”


Justice Dept. Issues Reminder for DACA Recipients and Employers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a reminder for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and employers on July 21, 2021. The reminder notes that on July 16, 2021, a federal court found DACA unlawful, which means that the government cannot grant new DACA applications. But existing DACA recipients are allowed to retain their grant of DACA and apply for renewal, DOJ noted. “The district court ruling does not affect ICE’s [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] existing enforcement guidelines. The ruling made clear that it did not ‘require DHS or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take.’ In light of the court decision, DOJ said, “we are issuing these reminders about employment discrimination and immigrant employee rights.”

The reminders include these and other points:

  • DACA recipients with current, unexpired Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) continue to be authorized to work.
  • For the time being, workers who already have DACA can continue to renew their DACA EADs.
  • USCIS will provide additional guidance for DACA requestors and recipients in the coming days.
  • DACA recipients are not required to tell employers they have DACA.
  • Employers are not expected to know which employees, if any, have DACA, and the court’s decision does not require employers to review Forms I-9, reverify employment authorization, or take any action at all.
  • Employers are not required or encouraged to ask their employees or job applicants about their immigration status or whether they have DACA.
  • When hiring a new employee, employers are required to verify the employee’s identity and authorization to work, not their immigration status.
  • The court decision does not require employers to review or audit their Forms I-9. If an employer decides to review its Forms I-9, it should do so in a non-discriminatory way.


No Surprise: Ombudsman’s Annual Report Says USCIS Faces ‘Unprecedented Challenges’ Due to Pandemic, Backlogs, Financial Issues

The Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2021 states that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “faces unprecedented challenges this year on virtually every front—from financial pressures to substantial backlogs across applications and petitions of all types.” The Covid-19 pandemic “created unique challenges for USCIS,” the report notes, including temporary office closures and a lack of the ability for “end-to-end electronic processing.” Once USCIS returned to operations at a reduced capacity, the agency had substantial backlogs of in-person appointments that needed rescheduling. The pandemic also exacerbated the agency’s preexisting financial issues and “decimated carryover funding needed to maintain its operations.” The problems began in 2020 and persisted into 2021: “The lingering effects of temporary office closures, insufficient revenue, and budget cuts continue to impact processing time and customer service functions.”

The report also identified other key areas of focus, including persistent problems with the issuance of Notices to Appear; challenges in the medical disability test waiver process; continuing complications in USCIS’s digital strategy; and issues in international student programs, among others.

The report identifies several key objectives, including expanded electronic filing and processing capabilities, increased outreach with stakeholders, and improved coordination between USCIS and other government agencies.


USCIS Reminds Employers to Take Action Within 10 Federal Government Working Days on Tentative Nonconfirmation Cases

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminded employers that they must take action on Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) cases for their employees within 10 federal government working days. USCIS noted that although most Social Security Administration offices are currently closed, this does not affect the 10-day requirement.

The reminder sets forth specific steps employers should take in E-Verify within the timeframe after issuance of a TNC result.


USCIS Updates Guidance on Acceptable I-9 Documents for Refugees and Asylees

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) updated its Handbook for Employers (M-274) to remind employers that refugees and asylees may present any acceptable documents in their possession to fulfill I-9 employment authorization verification requirements.

USCIS noted that refugees and asylees are eligible for employment due to their status “and are authorized to work indefinitely because their immigration status does not expire.” They may present any List A document or combination of List B and List C documents from the Form I-9 lists. They may also present an “acceptable receipt” instead of the List A, B, or C document. The handbook includes additional details.


OFLC Releases FAQ on Implementation of Revised ETA-9141

On July 16, 2021, the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) released Round 3 of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) to respond to inquiries from a webinar on implementing the revised Form ETA-9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination. The revised form provides a separate section to be completed by employers who accept alternative job requirements in addition to the minimum job requirements.

OFLC said the new alternative job requirements section (1) improves NPWC’s ability to ensure that prevailing wages provided to employers and listed on the Form ETA-9089 do not adversely affect U.S. workers and support a valid labor market test in instances where the alternative requirements would result in a higher wage; and (2) reduces employers’’ burden of completing a separate Form ETA-9141 for each set of requirements.


OFLC’s Atlanta Processing Center to Move in August

The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) mailing address for its Atlanta National Processing Center (ANPC) will change on August 25, 2021, with the exception of mail associated with the processing of applications requesting permanent labor certification subject to supervised recruitment.

Effective August 25, 2021, any mail, including U.S. Postal Service and other courier mail or parcel delivery packages, sent to ANPC must be submitted to the following new mailing address, according to an OFLC notice: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5311, Washington, DC 20210. One exception is mail associated with Supervised Recruitment under 20 CFR 656.21, which must continue to be submitted to: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, Atlanta National Processing Center, Attn: Supervised Recruitment, P.O. Box 56625, Atlanta, GA 30343.

OFLC said employers must provide ANPC’s correct new mailing address on the Notice of Filing (NOF) posted when employers file a Form ETA-9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification. “If the required 10-day posting period for a NOF commences after September 5, 2021, employers must include the new mailing address contained in the notice,” OFLC said.




H. Ronald Klasko | Jessica A. DeNisi | F. Oliver Yang
On July 29th, Ron Klasko and Jessica DeNisi joined this webinar hosted by Visa Franchise’s Managing Partner, Patrick Findaro to discuss the current opportunity of a direct EB-5 investment at $500,000.

F. Oliver Yang
Oliver Yang will join Visa Franchise’s Bo Zhang for this webinar on August 4 to discuss EB-5 direct investment opportunities at the lower investment amount during this unique window of opportunity.


William A. Stock
Bill was quoted in this Bloomberg Law article discussing how the H-2B visa cap was extremely low this year compared to the number of job openings in the United States.


H. Ronald Klasko
On July 7th, Ron Klasko spoke in this LCR Capital Partner webinar on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program via Regional Center and how the latest developments will impact the program.

H. Ronald Klasko
On July 22nd, Ron Klasko spoke in this AILA’s Education Department’s webinar on a panel entitled Handling Backlogs and Cases “Stuck” at the Consulates.

H. Ronald Klasko | Jessica A. DeNisi | F. Oliver Yang
On July 29th, Ron Klasko and Jessica DeNisi joined this webinar hosted by Visa Franchise’s Managing Partner, Patrick Findaro to discuss the current opportunity of a direct EB-5 investment at $500,000.


F. Oliver Yang
Oliver Yang will join Visa Franchise’s Bo Zhang for this webinar on August 4 to discuss EB-5 direct investment opportunities at the lower investment amount during this unique window of opportunity.


Will Pending Litigation Reveal Fraud and Abuse Plaguing the H-1B Visa Lottery?
Maria M. Mihaylova covers the most recent iterations of the Liu et al v. Mayorkas et al lawsuit in this article.

August 2021 Visa Bulletin
In this blog, read a summary of USCIS’s update on quota movement and which chart to use for employment and family-based categories.

FAQs on the June 2021 EB-5 Program Changes
In this blog, H. Ronald Klasko and Tammy Fox-Isicoff answer some of the most common questions on the June 2021 EB-5 program changes.

Client Alert: National Interest Exceptions (“NIE”) Extended to 1 Year
In this client alert, Arielle J. Ratush covers how the U.S. Embassies in London and Berlin have reported that “all National Interest Exceptions (“NIE”) are now valid for 12 months and multiple entries as long as you are traveling for the same purpose for which you originally received an NIE.”

Moving the Goalposts: Name, Image, and Likeness Compensation for Foreign Student Athletes
Nigel D. James addresses the recent changes to name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation for student athletes in this blog.


We are welcoming many new staff members to the Klasko team! Check out our new Klasko hires on our Instagram! View here.

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.

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