EIG Dispatch | July 3-7

DC Insights: Travel Ban / Premium Processing Update / Revised Form I-485 / House Passes Immigration Bills / India Joins Global Entry Program 

Feature Story: Travel Ban Now in Effect with Broad Exceptions for Dual Citizens, Visa Holders, and Others with Ties to the United States

Headlines: Malaysian eVisa / Nigerian Work Permit / July 4th Closures

DC Insights: What We Learned in the Past 7 Days

Modified Version of Travel Ban Took Effect Thursday. The U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security began enforcing the modified travel band at 8pm eastern time on Thursday, June 29, 2017.  For further details, see our feature story below.

H-1B Premium Processing Resumed for Physicians, More Expected to Follow in Coming Months. On June 26, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions filed on behalf of medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program and the interested government agency waivers. The suspension on premium processing is still in effect for all other H-1B petitions. We expect USCIS to gradually begin resuming premium processing in the coming months and will provide updates as soon as information becomes available.

USCIS Revises Form I-485. USCIS has revised Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, making some minor changes and eliminating the need for a separate biographical form. USCIS will accept the old version until August 25, 2017. After that date, only the revised version will be accepted. Please contact your EIG attorney for any questions regarding your case.

The House of Representatives Passes Two Immigration Bills. Last week, the House passed two bills, cracking down on illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities. One of the bills, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, increases the amount of money that cities could lose for not cooperating with immigration officials. The other bill, known as Kate’s law, increases penalties imposed on illegal immigrants who have been convicted of illegal reentry. Though the bills have passed in the House, they must pass the Senate before becoming law, and the New York Times reported on Friday that it is unlikely the Senate will pass either bill as is.

India Joins Global Entry – Visas Still Required. During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to DC last week, the U.S. and Indian governments announced that Indian travelers can now participate in the Global Entry Program. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows for pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon entry into the United States. Indian travelers will still need to have a valid visa, and will need to apply for the program and undergo extensive background checks like all other global entry applicants. Once accepted to Global Entry, they will be able to enter the U.S. through automatic kiosks instead of waiting in line to meet with an immigration officer.

Feature Story: Travel Ban Now in Effect with Broad Exceptions for Dual Citizens, Visa Holders, and Others with Ties to the United States

Following the Supreme Court’s decision last week, to allow the administration to block “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”, the modified travel ban took effect at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday June 29, 2017.

Advice for Travelers: Bring evidence with you and prepare for a wait
If you are a citizen of one of the six affected countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), even if you already have a visa or are otherwise exempt from the ban (see details below), we recommend you carry substantial evidence of your ties to the U.S. Also, be prepared for additional screenings and longer waits.

Specifically, in addition to the documents your normally carry, you should travel with hard copies (not electronic) of the following documents in your carry-on (not in checked baggage):

Employees based in the US returning from overseas: 

  • Three months of recent pay stubs
  • Employment verification letter, signed contract, and/or offer letter
  • Most recent approval notice from USCIS
  • Company ID badge
  • Business cards

Business visitors: 

  • Invitation letter from the U.S. company you are visiting
  • Contact information for someone in the U.S. who can verify the purpose of your visit
  • Documents showing you are employed by a foreign branch of a US company

Social Travelers: 

  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, or other evidence of relationship
  • Copy of the relative’s passport, driver’s license, or other identification showing where they live in the U.S.
  • Copy of the relative’s U.S. status (if applicable), such as their green card, U.S. passport, etc.

For URGENT travel questions while in transit, contact the EIG Travel Hotline: 1-877-EIG-LAW1 (1-877-344-5291). For all other questions not answered above, please email usvisa@eiglaw.com.

How the Travel Ban is Being Implemented
The new ban ONLY affects travelers who are citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Citizens of these countries are exempt from the modified ban if they:

  • Have a green card;
  • Are dual citizens of one of the named countries and a second country, and are traveling as a citizen of the second country;
  • Were physically present in the U.S. on or before June 26, 2017 or have a valid visa on the day the ban take effect (June 29, 2017);
  • Have evidence of a formal, documented relationship with a U.S. entity, including employees of U.S. companies, students at U.S. universities, invited lecturers, and other similar individuals with a documented relationship with a U.S. entity. However, this does not include relationships entered into simply to avoid the travel ban; and
  • Have a “close family relationship to a person inside the U.S including a parent (parent-in law included), spouse, fiancée, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This definition also encompasses step relationships (e.g. step-parent, step-sibling).

For more information on how the travel ban will be administered, see the Department of State’s instructions for Embassy Officers and the Department of Homeland Security’s FAQs for travelers.

If you have questions about how this may impact your future travel, contact your EIG attorney.

Headlines: Immigration News from Around the World

Malaysian eVisa Now Available for Citizens of Certain Countries. Nationals of China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Serbia, and Montenegro are now eligible for an eVisa to visit Malaysia for business or tourism. The eVisa authorizes a single entry of up to 30 days within a 3 month period. For more information or to apply for an eVisa, please see the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Nigerian Temporary Work Permit Applications May Now be Emailed. The Nigerian Comptroller General of Immigration Service has authorized the submission of Temporary Work Permit applications via email. For more information on specific visa requirements, visit the visas website of the Nigerian Immigration Service. We expect the email option will streamline the process and reduce processing times.

July 4th Closures in U.S. Consulates and Embassies Around the World. In observance of U.S. Independence Day, U.S. Consulates and Embassies around the world will be closed, as will many foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S.