- USCIS Visa Appointments Suspended Worldwide Due to System Maintenance
- Police Clearance Now Required for Long Term Visa Applicants in the UK
- Temporary Measures Following Typhoon Soudelor in the CNMI
USCIS Visa Appointments Suspended Worldwide Due to System Maintenance
Following the technical glitch that stalled visa issuance in June, U.S embassies and consulates worldwide have announced the suspension of visa appointments scheduled for August 7, 2015 and August 10, 2015. This temporary suspension will permit the Department of State to conduct system maintenance aimed at preventing major computer failures similar to the recent biometric data processing glitch. Foreign nationals affected by the suspension are instructed to contact the relevant embassy or consulate to schedule a new appointment if their appointment has not been automatically rescheduled. Resumption of normal operations is expected on August 11, 2015.
Police Clearance Now Required for Long Term Visa Applicants in the UK
Starting September 1, 2015, Tier 1 (Investors and Entrepreneurs) visa applicants to the UK will be required to present police clearances for every country they have lived in for at least 12 months in the preceding 10 years. Certificates must be translated into English and issued within 6 months prior to submission of the visa application. The regulation also requires compliance from visa-waiver nationals, including U.S nationals. While the purpose of the requirement is to curtail criminal activity from entering the UK, the regulation will add a significant burden to applicants and will result in longer processing times.
The Home Office has stated that the level of success of the regulation for Tier 1 applicants will determine whether the regulation will be extended to Tier 2 categories. If successful, companies sponsoring workers under Tier 2 categories should expect to comply with the new regulation beginning in 2016-2017.
Temporary Measures Following Typhoon Soudelor in the CNMI
USCIS will extend immigration benefits to individuals impacted by Typhoon Soudelor, the tropical cyclone that caused immense turmoil to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands this past Sunday. Acknowledging the impact and added difficulty of such a disaster on an individual’s ability to maintain lawful status, USCIS has added temporary benefits that result in greater flexibility in addressing issues within the immigration process. Such measures include:
- A change or extension of immigration status filed after the authorized period of admission has expired for an individual currently in the United States.
- Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS.
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications.
- Assistance to Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents.
- Upon a showing of the impact of the typhoon on the individual’s circumstances, USCIS will grant assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required documentation and evidence.
- A 30 days extension will be granted to RFEs and NOIDs that have a deadline of August 2 through September 2, 2015.
More information and updates can be found on the USCIS website.