EIG Dispatch | August 15, 2017

DC Insights: RAISE Act Unlikely to Become Law / DACA Turns 5 / USCIS Remains Without a Director

Headlines: UK Travel: Save Time, Skip the Landing Card / New Zealand Modifies Skilled Migrant Scheme / Canada Start Up Visa / Qatar Expands Visa Waiver Program

Feature Story: Visa Bulletin I-94 FAQs

DC Insights: What We Learned in the Past 7 Days

Despite White House Support, the RAISE Act is Unlikely to Become Law. In a special post last week, we discussed the RAISE Act and its potential reforms to the green card process. Despite the White House’s support, the Raise Act is unlikely to receive the required support it would need to pass the Senate. Thus far, the bill has faced opposition by a range of groups including the Cato Institute, US Catholic Church leaders, and the Wharton School of Business, who have highlighted the weaknesses and negative business impacts of the bill. Faced with growing opposition and very little proof that the bill could achieve its stated goals, the RAISE Act is unlikely to become law.

DACA Turns 5. On August 15th, 2012, USCIS began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Five years later, the status of the program remains uncertain. The Attorneys General for ten states have set a September 5th deadline for the Trump Administration to end the program. Meanwhile, advocates for the program are using DACA’s 5th anniversary to organize pro-DACA rallies around the country.

USCIS Remains Without a Director. While President Trump nominated Lee Francis Cissna to lead the agency and a Senate hearing on his nomination was completed on May 24th, the Senate has yet to confirm the nomination. The earliest chance at Senate confirmation will be when Congress returns to session on September 5th after summer recess.

Headlines: Immigration News from Around the World

UK Travel: Save Some Time, Skip the Landing Card. As a part of ongoing efforts to digitize border processes, the UK Home Office will officially discontinue use of the paper Landing Card. Previously, all non-EU national visitors to the UK were required to complete the paper Landing Card upon entry to the UK. All non-EU visitors will continue to be screened and visa requirements will still apply, but the border authorities will no longer require completion of the Landing Card upon arrival. Home Office is confident that the change in procedure will reduce cost and resource expenditure while simultaneously easing the flow of passengers through border screening.

New Zealand Increases Restrictions on Skilled Migrant Scheme. As we previously reported, New Zealand introduced changes to their temporary and permanent immigration programs as part of an effort to improve labor market contributions. Most recently, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) announced changes that apply to temporary workers under the Skilled Migrant Category. The recent changes include the implementation of remuneration bands as an added criteria in determining occupation skill level, limited duration of visas for lower skilled occupations, and restrictions on dependent sponsorship. The changes to the Essential Skills policy will become effective August 28, 2017.

Canada Continues the “Start-up Visa Program” Beyond Pilot. Originally implemented as a five-year pilot program, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada announced the full implementation of the “Start-up Visa Program”, effective immediately. The Start-up Visa Program offers a pathway to permanent residence for foreign entrepreneurs who are developing “innovative companies”, contributing to job creation, and encouraging investment in Canada.

Qatar Expands List of Visa Waiver Eligible Countries. Following up on its recent announcement of a path to permanent residency, Qatar has continued to open its borders. Effective immediately, Qatar has expanded visa-free entry to nationals of 80 countries. Nationals of certain countries, including Turkey and many European Union countries, will be issued a visa waiver on arrival which is valid for 180 days and authorizes a stay of up to 90 days. Nationals of some countries, including the US, UK, and China, will obtain a visa waiver on arrival that is valid for 30 days and allows a duration of stay for up to 30 days. By expanding its visa waiver policy, Qatar hopes to expand its tourism industry and reduce political tensions in the region.

Feature Story: I-94 FAQs

For this edition of our FAQ series we answer your questions about I-94s. (See our prior FAQs on the Visa Bulletin and the Green Card Process, and our Summer/Fall Travel Reminders.)

What is the I-94?
The I-94 is the document issued to foreign nationals entering the US as a visitor or non-immigrant (LPRs and US citizens are not issued I-94s). As of April 2013, most I-94 records are created electronically by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and can be accessed online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/.

What information is on the I-94?
The I-94 includes (a) your name, (b) birth date, (c) passport number, (d) passport country of issuance, (e) visa class of admission, (f) date of admission, and (g) status expiration date.

How do I find my I-94?
I-94s can be accessed online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/. To access your I-94, you will need to provide your name, birth date, passport number, and the country that issued your passport.

When should I check my I-94?
Every time you arrive in the US following international travel. When you arrive you should:
–    Review your I-94 online,
–    Save a copy for your records,
–    Email a copy to EIG, and
–    Let EIG know if you notice any errors or inaccuracies.

Why is it important to check my I-94 after each entry?
The I-94 record determines your period of lawful admission to the US. As discussed below, I-94s can be issued with errors or shortened period of admission. If you are not aware of an I-94 error or shortened period of admission, you may inadvertently overstay your period of authorized stay, which can result in serious repercussions to your ability to work and remain in the US.

What if I can’t find my I-94?
Try searching with a variation of your name. If you were born on the 1st through 12th of the month, try switching your day and month of birth. If you still can’t find your I-94 email your EIG attorney for help.

What if there is a typographical error on my I-94?
Contact your EIG attorney. In most cases where incorrect admission information on an I-94 is due to CBP error, a new, corrected I-94 record may be issued by CBP. In those situations, we typically will advise you to get it corrected by going in-person to your nearest CBP office.

What if the date on my I-94 doesn’t match the expiration date on my approval notice?
Check your passport. If you have a passport with an expiration date that is earlier than the expiration date on your non-immigrant visa petition, the shortened period of admission is not an error. CBP issues I-94s valid until the expiration of your passport or the period authorized by your approval notice (whichever is shorter). Therefore, you would need to either extend your status in the US or depart the US and re-enter with a renewed passport.

If your I-94 doesn’t match the expiration date of your approval notice or your passport, it could be an error. Contact your EIG attorney for help.