Students and Academics in China Exempted from COVID-Related U.S. Visa and Entry Ban

The State Department has just announced an exception to the COVID-related visa and entry ban for persons present in China. Namely, applicants for F-1 student visas and J-1 exchange visitor visas for academic programs will qualify for a “national interest exception” (NIE) to the ban, so they may be issued visas and enter the United…

USCIS Update: Biometrics Appointment Delays

In a December 29, 2020 Stakeholder Message, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided an update on biometrics appointment delays at Application Support Centers (ASCs) due to COVID-19. USCIS collects biometrics for certain kinds of applications, including but not limited to: Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (including reentry permit)…

USCIS Filing Fees Update: Gov’t Withdraws 9th Circuit Appeal

Dec. 29, 2020 Update Yesterday, the government filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Immigrant Legal Resource Center et al., v. Wolf, et al., a legal challenge to the USCIS final rule from Aug. 20, which increased filing fees and required new versions of…

State Dep’t Limits B (Visitor) Visa Validity for Communist Party Members

On Dec. 2, the State Department issued new restrictions on B1/B2 (visitor for business or leisure) visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their families. While other Chinese citizens may obtain multiple-entry visas valid for entry within 10 years, under a 2014 reciprocal agreement between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping, CCP members…

Public Charge Litigation Update: Court of Appeals Stays Order Vacating DHS Public Charge Rule Nationwide

“Public charge” is a ground of inadmissibility. Grounds of inadmissibility are reasons that a person could be denied a green card, visa, or admission into the United States. A battle is being fought out in federal courts across the country over the legality of a Trump administration attempt to modify public charge rules.

Trump Amends Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Presenting a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market

If you’ve been keeping count, the President has now issued three different proclamations restricting visa issuance and entry of noncitizens allegedly presenting a risk to the U.S. labor market in the wake of COVID-19. They are: Version 1.0 (Apr. 23): President issues  Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market…

Routine Visa Appointment Availability in China

June 24 update: Bloomberg is reporting that dozens of U.S. diplomats are preparing to return to Beijing next month. Reportedly, some are concerned that the Chinese government could have access to their DNA samples from COVID-19 testing. And some are concerned that dependent family members may be separated if they test positive. June 20: The…

Trump Suspends Entry of Chinese Students and Researchers: First Impressions

The President has issued a May 29, 2020, Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China.The proclamation appears to be counter-productive, a distraction from real measures needed to fight Beijing’s theft of sensitive technologies, and an attempt to boost Trump’s electoral odds by stoking xenophobia.

“Administrative Processing”: a Black Hole for Visa Applicants

For the uninitiated, “administrative processing” (AP) is State Department-speak for a temporary visa refusal pending further investigation of a visa application. (9 FAM Appendix E, 404). The applicant typically learns of the temporary refusal when, at the conclusion of the interview, the consular officer issues a written notice stating that under section 221(g) of the Immigration…

“Birth Tourism” Restricted by New State Department Rule

The State Department has published a Jan. 24 rule taking aim at birth tourism. The rule prohibits issuance of a B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visa if the applicant’s primary purpose for traveling to the U.S. is to gain citizenship for a child by giving birth in the U.S. The new rule will not prohibit pregnant…

U.S. Consulate in Shenyang Consular Section Relocating to Maoye Mall

The U.S. Consulate in Shenyang’s Consular Section is moving to the 5th Floor of Maoye Mall at 185 Qingian Avenue (茂业天地购物中心青年大街185号). That’s near subway line 2 Shitushuguan Stop (市图书馆站). Take Exit B. If you are entering the mall before 10 AM, use the dedicated consular section entrance located to the right of Starbuck’s Coffee. Routine…

Interruption to U.S. Consulate in Shanghai Visa Services

The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai advised on Fri. Aug. 30 that: Due to network issues, the consular section of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai is experiencing interruption to a range of consular services. We are working … to … restore … services…. We will not be scheduling new interview appointments until this issue is…

New DHS Public Charge Rule

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule governing the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, found at section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Unless litigation halts implementation of the rule, it will go into effect after 60 days, on October 15, 2019. Here is a…

Making a Congressional Inquiry for Help with Your Immigration Case

If you are having problems with your immigration case, a member of the U.S. Congress may be willing to inquire with a Federal immigration agency, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) on your behalf.

Findream LLC Operator Indicted for OPT-Related Scam

The below July 26, 2019, press release is from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Huang Weiyun has been indicted on allegations that, among other things, she sold letters falsely verifying that F-1 students were eligible for optional practical training (OPT) based on employment with her company, Findream LLC.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visas and EB-1 Multinational Managers: A Guide for Startups and Mature Companies

This Guide provides an overview of the requirements and procedures involved in applying for an L-1 (intracompany transfer) visa, seeking admission to the U.S., and complying with the terms and conditions of the visa. This Guide also discusses the related green card category for EB-1 multinational managers.