Ebola Outbreak-related Immigration Relief Measures to Nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone Currently in the United States

On August 15, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release addressing humanitarian relief that may potentially be available to nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who are currently in the U.S. USCIS is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and offers relief measures to nationals of those three countries who are currently in the United States.  Read More >

BALCA Holds That, Despite Typographical Error on ETA9089, Audit Materials Demonstrated Compliance

Before an employer may file an application under the Permanent Employment Certification (PERM) process, it must test the labor market to ensure that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to perform the position for which the employer seeks certification. After this “recruitment” process is completed, the employer must file Form ETA 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification, with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  Read More >

CBP Launches Mobile Passport Control App

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) announced the release of its first mobile app this week. The app, Mobile Passport Control (“MPC”) will allow eligible travelers to submit their passport information and customs declaration from their smartphones or tablets prior to inspection by CBP. The app was created as part of a pilot program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (“HJA”). Travelers arriving at HJA will be able to use the app starting today. Later this year, MPC will be expanded to more airports and to other smartphone/tablets such as Android smartphones.   Read More >

SEVP Draft Policy Guidance on Conditional Admission, the Form I-20, and English Proficiency

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (“SEVP”) issued draft guidance clarifying issues related to the appropriate issuance of the Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” where international students may not meet all standards of admission.    Read More >

Third Country Nationals: Consular Interviews Outside Your Home Country

Nonimmigrant visa applicants often inquire about attending consular interviews in a third country. Especially for foreign nationals who travel frequently, it is sometimes burdensome to travel to the home country solely to attend the interview. Furthermore, visa applicants are oftentimes in the U.S. in some other status prior to the consular interview and desire to attend the interview at a consulate that is closer, such as in Mexico, Canada, or a Caribbean country.  Read More >

What’s Going On With Consular Delays? (Part 2)

As we previously reported, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs has been experiencing technical problems with its passport and visa system causing delays. The Department reports that it has made significant progress and has now issued most of the backlog of nonimmigrant visas. The Department is nonetheless still working on getting its databases working to full capacity again. Accordingly, visa applicants may still experience delays of up to one week (on top of regular processing times) as problems are worked out. The Department has noted that it is prioritizing immigrant visas, adoption cases, and emergency nonimmigrant visas. These types of cases are currently experiencing only minimal delays.

The technical problems reportedly stem from maintenance and software updates made on July 20 which were intended to improve overall system performance and address previous performance issues. However, a root cause has not yet been identified.   

For more information, please contact William J. Flynn III, board certified immigration and nationality attorney.

BALCA Holds Additional Recruitment Steps Need Not Comply With Detailed Content Requirement

On July 30, 2014, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), in Matter of Symantec, decided the issue of whether a Certifying Officer may deny an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089) for a position involving a professional occupation if one of the “additional” recruitment steps does not comply with the advertising content requirements in 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f)(6). BALCA found that a Certifying Officer may not deny certification on this basis.  Read More >

White House Plans to Expand Immigrants’ Rights

Last month, President Obama stated that he would do as much as he could on his own to fix the U.S. immigration system in light of Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform this session. According to White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer, such executive action might come as soon as the end of the summer. Read More >

UK Passport Workers Go on Strike

Hundreds of passport workers in the UK have gone on strike, citing staff numbers and pay as the cause of the dispute. The strike is taking place at all eight of the UK's Passport Office sites - Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Southport, London, Newport, and Peterborough.  Read More >

What’s Going On With Consular Delays? (Part 1)

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with its passport and visa system. Consular services are operational, but currently issuing documents at a reduced capacity. This issue is worldwide and is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category.   

Applicants may experience delays or may be unable to obtain a U.S. passport, Report of Birth Abroad, or visa. The U.S. Department of State has indicated that routine passport services are not affected at this time.

For more information regarding visa issuance or U.S. passports, please contact William J. Flynn III, Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law.

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