Biden Administration Plans to Rescind COVID-19 Travel Bans and Instead Require Proof of Vaccination

The Biden administration will be easing travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated international travelers for air travel and land borders effective on November 8, 2021.

On October 13, 2021, DHS Secretary Mayorkas announced that DHS will lift Title 19 restrictions for land and ferry border crossings from Canada and Mexico in two phases. In early November 2021, consistent with the rescission of the INA 212(f) COVID-19 entry bans for air travelers, DHS will first allow non-essential travel across the land and ferry borders for fully vaccinated individuals, while still allowing essential travel for unvaccinated individuals. In early January 2022, DHS will then require all foreign travelers, whether essential or not, to be fully vaccinated. There will be limited exceptions to these requirements, such as for children. This announcement only applies to regular land and ferry border crossings and does not lift the Title 42 restrictions for irregular land and ferry border crossings.

On October 11, 2021 it was confirmed via a CDC spokesperson that only vaccines that are approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted for international travelers seeking to travel to the United States.

As of the date of this update, the accepted vaccines are as follows:

  1. FDA Authorized/Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech
  2. WHO Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

While much is not yet known about the implementation of the administration’s new travel requirements, it appears that as vaccines are added to the approved/authorized list by either the FDA or WHO, it will subsequently be accepted for international travelers. AILA will continue to provide additional updates on the implementation of these new requirements.

For more information on COVID-19 Travel Bans ,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Apply for Green Card through Registry if enter before 1972 and Good Moral Character

Current immigration law contains a provision called “registry” that allows certain non-citizens who are long-term residents of the United States, but who are either undocumented or present in the country under some sort of temporary immigration status, to “register” for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. In order to qualify, individuals must have entered the country on or before a specified date (known as the “registry date”) and must demonstrate good moral character and continuous residence since their entry. After its creation in 1929, Congress advanced the registry date four times, most recently in 1986, when the date was set at January 1, 1972—meaning that only non-citizens who entered the United States by that date are eligible to apply for LPR status through registry. This date is now so far in the past that few individuals are eligible.

Current Eligibility Requirements for Registry

Registry applicants do not need a U.S. petitioner, medical exam, or financial affidavit of support. Under current law, an individual without a record of lawful admission for permanent residence qualifies for registry.  Apply for a Green Card through Registry if you meet the following requirements:

  • entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972
  • maintained continuous residence in the United States since his or her entry
  • is physically present in the United States at the time he or she files the application
  • is a person of good moral character
  • is not inadmissible to the United States under certain grounds (such as having been convicted of certain crimes) or is not eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief
  • is not ineligible for citizenship or deportable under terrorist-related grounds
  • merits the favorable exercise of discretion
  • submits an adjustment of status application (Form I-485), together with the appropriate fee, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Supporting Evidence for Form I-485

To qualify for Green Card through Registry, you should submit the following evidence with your Form I-485:

  • Two passport-style photos
  • Copy of government issued photo identification
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of passport page with admission (entry) stamp (if applicable)
  • Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record (if applicable)
  • Evidence that you entered the United States prior to Jan. 1, 1972
  • Evidence to establish continuous residence since entry

Note: An individual applying under the registry provisions is not required to undergo a medical exam.

For more information on Green Card through Registry,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Form I-693 Medical Exam Valid for 4 years

Beginning Aug. 12, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is temporarily extending the validity period for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, from two years to now four years due to COVID-19-related delays in processing.

USCIS may consider a completed Form I-693 as valid if:

  • The civil surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • No more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; and
  • A decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 is issued on or before Sept. 30, 2021.

This temporary change is because COVID-19 has caused processing delays and affected applicants’ ability to complete the required immigration medical examination. Previously, a completed Form I-693 retained its validity for two years after the date the civil surgeon signed, as long as the date of the civil surgeon’s signature was no more than 60 days before the applicant filed for adjustment of status.

If you are applying for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident with USCIS (also known as applying for a Green Card), please file Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, together with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Doing so may eliminate the need for us to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) and helps avoid adjudication delays.

For more information on Form I-693,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Why do I need Medical Examination in U.S. to Get Green Card?

Medical examination and vaccination requirements vary depending on the immigration benefit the person is seeking.

Most applicants subject to medical grounds of inadmissibility must undergo a medical examination to determine their admissibility. Some applicants, however, do not need to undergo a medical examination unless there is a specific concern. Nonimmigrants, for example, are in this category.

Even if the applicant is not subject to health-related grounds of inadmissibility, the officer may still order a medical examination as a matter of discretion if the evidence indicates that there may be a public health concern.  This could apply, for example, when an officer adjudicates a request for parole.

In general, an immigration officer may order a medical examination of an applicant at any time, if the officer is concerned that the applicant may be medically inadmissible.  This rule applies regardless of the type of immigration benefit sought, or whether the applicant is applying for a visa, seeking entry at a U.S. port-of-entry, or already in the United States. (more…)

Supreme Court Says TPS Is Not an Admission

On June 7, 2021, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled  that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking “green cards” to remain in the country permanently.

The designation applies to people who come from countries ravaged by war or disaster. It protects them from deportation and allows them to work legally. There are 400,000 people from 12 countries with TPS status.

The outcome in a case involving a couple from El Salvador who have been in the U.S. since the 1990s turned on whether people who entered the country illegally and were given humanitarian protections were ever “admitted” into the United States under immigration law.

Kagan wrote that they were not. “The TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them. So the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant…eligible” for a green card, she wrote.

The House of Representatives already has passed legislation that would make it possible for TPS recipients to become permanent residents, Kagan noted. The bill faces uncertain prospects in the Senate.

Federal courts around the country had come to conflicting decisions about whether the grant of TPS status was, by itself, enough to enable an immigrant to try to obtain permanent residency.

Former President Donald Trump tried to cancel the program for many immigrants, stoking fear they could be sent back to their homelands where they haven’t lived in many years.

This decision does not affect immigrants with TPS who initially entered the U.S. legally and then, say, overstayed their visa, Kagan noted. Because those people were legally admitted to the country and later were given humanitarian protections, they can seek to become permanent residents.

For more information on TPS,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.

On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.

Do not file Form I-9 with USCIS or U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers must:

  • Have a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form;
  • Retain and store Forms I-9 for three years after the date of hire, or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later; and
  • Make their forms available for inspection if requested by authorized U.S. government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.

Do not complete Form I-9 for employees who are:

  • Employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular, or intermittent basis;
  • Independent contractors;
  • Employed by a contractor providing contract services (such as employee leasing or temporary agencies) and are providing labor to you; or
  • Not physically working on U.S. soil.

For more information on Form I-9,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Reuse Biometrics Notices from USCIS

In an effort to overcome huge delays in capturing biometrics of applicants, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reuse biometrics previously submitted by applicants in order to process pending immigration applications.  Applicants who receive a notice stating that USCIS will reuse biometrics will NOT receive an appointment for fingerprints or photos.

Some applicants are waiting 8-9 months for a biometrics appointment post-COVID when the timeframe was 2-3 months pre-COVID.  The delay in scheduling appointments for biometrics (fingerprints and digital photo) is resulting in a delay in issuing work permits and other documents that require background checks.

Thousands of biometrics appointments were canceled during the coronavirus pandemic and USCIS said it would reschedule them once it normalized operations. But many applicants have yet to receive their rescheduled or new appointment, and their immigration processes have thus been delayed.

Approximately 1.3 million applications for immigration benefits are awaiting biometrics appointments as of mid-December 2020, the Department of Homeland Security agency said.  Roughly 280,000 immigrants saw their appointments canceled between March 2020 and June 2020.

The good news, though, is that given these challenges, when authorized by law, USCIS will reuse biometrics previously collected biometric data to conduct background and security checks — therefore some immigrants will be able to skip the biometrics appointment.

For more information on Reuse Biometrics Notices from USCIS,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

India Travel Ban to U.S. and Options Entering & Leaving India

Effective May 4the entry into the United States of certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India is suspended.  U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and immigrants are not subject to the proclamation.  The suspension of entry also does not apply to non-U.S. citizen spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

** We encourage U.S. citizens who wish to depart India to take advantage of currently available commercial flights.  Airlines continue to operate multiple direct flights weekly from India to the United States.  Additional flight options remain available via transfers in Paris, Frankfurt, and Doha.  In general, the U.S. embassy and consulates in India may not assist U.S. citizens in finding commercial flights.  If your first choice of travel date is not available, please expand your search options.

*** Effective January 26, all incoming airline passengers to the United States aged two years and older must provide results of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

Country-Specific Information

(more…)

All Immigrants (legal or illegal) can get COVID vaccine

 

All persons, regardless of immigration status should and can get the COVID vaccine.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made this clear in a statement released on February 1, just as vaccine production was beginning to ramp up:

“DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. …DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines.”

Though there have been some disinformation campaigns designed to scare undocumented immigrants out of getting the vaccine, people don’t need to be concerned. DHS went on to say that no enforcement operations would be conducted at or near vaccination distribution sites or clinics, consistent with the “sensitive locations” policy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines prohibits vaccination workers from turning people away for failure to produce specific identification documents or inquire about immigration status.  Also, the CDC has made the vaccine available to all people at no cost, meaning you can still get the COVID vaccine if you are uninsured or have no health insurance.

Ensuring immigrants get vaccinated is a priority—over 4 million work in essential services like health care and social service industries. And vaccinating the greatest amount of people will make everyone safer.

Getting the immigrant population vaccinated must be a priority, especially since many were left out of previous COVID-19 relief but were still relied upon to keep our economy moving. We have both a public health and moral obligation to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one safely and easily.

For more information on COVID vaccine for all immigrants,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Biden Immigration Bill

January 21, 2021 – President Biden laid out his vision for long overdue immigration reform. If passed into law, the Biden Immigration Bill would finally provide channels for millions of people who call this country home to validate their status. It is one step toward a more fair and just immigration system.

In addition, President Biden signed several immigration executive orders preserving DACA, ending the Muslim travel ban, ending border wall construction, halting deportation for 100 days and including immigrants in consensus.  These executive orders take effect immediately.

The Biden Immigration bill has not been introduced into Congress, has not been debated or voted on but is the step in the right direction.  Here are four key components you should know about Biden Immigration Bill:

1. An eight-year pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The bill would provide a five-year path to permanent residence for all undocumented immigrants present in the United States on January 1, 2021, followed by a three-year wait for naturalization. Certain individuals with long-standing ties to the United States and previous vetting by the government would be expedited, including over 1 million people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status—in addition to agricultural workers.

2. Eliminating the three- and ten-year bars and expanding legal immigration.

Many immigrants who could have a chance to legalize their status may not be able to do so. This is because of penalties that prohibit green card applicants from returning to the U.S. for three or 10 years if they depart after being in the country unauthorized. And many of these people who qualify for green cards are required to apply from abroad.

The new bill will reverse these bars which prevent or delay many eligible family members from becoming lawful permanent residents—even if they are already in the United States.

3. Expanding existing immigration channels.

The bill will also make significant changes to the legal immigration system. It will recapture millions of previously unused visas to reduce green card backlogs, eliminate per-country caps on visas, and provide rapid paths to a green card for children and spouses of permanent residents. It will also prevent children of H-1B visa holders from “aging out” and being forced to leave the United States.

4. Untangling immigration enforcement from comprehensive solutions.

Since 2003, Congress has authorized over $330 billion on immigration enforcement—and the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents nearly doubled. Yet we have not seen Congress pass any measures to support immigrants in over 30 years despite having consistently expanded the enforcement system.

Biden Immigration Bill is different than previous efforts to pass a comprehensive bill because it is not directly tied to immigration enforcement measures, which have been the singular focus of immigration policy for years.

For more information on Biden Immigration Bill,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

FREE phone & in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2021, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.