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 ,

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Making False Statement on Immigration Application is Deportable Aggravated Felony

11th Circuit Court of Appeals Concludes That Petitioner’s Federal Conviction for Making False Statements in an Immigration Application Was an Aggravated Felony

The court denied the petition for review, holding that because the petitioner was convicted of making false statements in an immigration application in violation of 18 USC §1546(a) and his sentence was for greater than one year, his conviction expressly fell within the definition of an aggravated felony in INA §101(a)(43)(P).

Accordingly, the court found that the BIA properly dismissed the petitioner’s appeal, because the IJ correctly denied his motion to terminate his removal proceedings and his application for cancellation of removal on the ground that his §1546(a) convictions were aggravated felonies. (Germain v. Att’y Gen., 8/18/21)

Click link to view case: Germain v. Att’y Gen., 8/18/21

#COVIDvaccine for Form I-693 Immigration Medical Required Effective Oct. 1, 2021

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding health-related grounds of inadmissibility in accordance with recently updated requirements issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The updated guidance, which is effective October 1, 2021, requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to submit COVID-19 vaccination records before completion of immigration medical examinations conducted in the United States and overseas.

In general, those applying to become a lawful permanent resident, and other applicants as required, must undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under health-related grounds.  USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform this immigration medical examination for those applying within the United States using the Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693).

On August 17, 2021, the CDC released an update to the Vaccination Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons, requiring applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (currently one or two doses, depending on formulation) and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination.

Policy Highlights

  • Explains that, beginning October 1, 2021, applicants who are required to undergo the immigration medical examination must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series before the civil surgeon can complete the immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693.
  • Explains that the civil surgeon may indicate that a blanket waiver could apply in cases where the COVID-19 vaccine is not age appropriate, where it is contraindicated, or where it is not routinely available in the state where the civil surgeon practices or where it is limited in supply

Vaccination Requirements for Immigrants

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)2 specifies the following vaccinations:

  • Mumps, measles, rubella;
  • Polio;
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids;3
  • Pertussis;
  • Haemophilius influenza type B; and
  • Hepatitis B.

CDC requires the following additional vaccines for immigration purposes:

  • Varicella;
  • Influenza;
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia;
  • Rotavirus;
  • Hepatitis A;
  • Meningococcal; and
  • COVID-19.

For more information on #COVIDvaccine for Form I-693 Immigration Medical ,

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I-751 Receipt Extended to 24 months for Conditional Permanent Residents

Starting Sept. 4, 2021, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services is extending the time that receipt notices can be used to show evidence of status from 18 months to 24 months for petitioners who properly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. We are making the change from 18 to 24 months to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.

The expired green card AND the Form I-751 receipt notices can be used to renew driver’s license, provide to employer and travel in and out of the U.S.

Conditional permanent residents who properly file Form I-751 or Form I-829 will receive a receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card), as evidence of continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card, while their case remains pending with USCIS.

Additionally, we will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who properly filed their Form I-751 or Form I-829 before Sept. 4 and whose cases are still pending. Those receipt notices will also serve as evidence of continued status for 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card.

For more information on I-751 Receipt Extended to 24 months for Conditional Permanent Residents ,

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

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

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

President Biden announced that it is plans to ease travel restrictions on all international travelers coming into the United States beginning in early November 2021. The White House will rescind the current geographic COVID-19 related travel bans implemented for individuals from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India and will instead move forward with solutions to deter the spread of COVID-19 based on individuals, rather than restrictions placed on entire countries or regions.

In place of these bans, all international travelers will be required to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC will provide information regarding which vaccines will be accepted.

Limited exceptions such as for children; COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants; and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner will be available. Individuals who are exempted from the vaccine requirement may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival.

The administration will also be making additional recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19, including 1) continuing the mask mandate through January 18, 2022; 2) expanding pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements; and 3) implanting a contact tracing order for airlines.

The administration said it needs until early November to establish processes and procedures to fully implement this decision. (more…)

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,

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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

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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,

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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

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