Adviser's Manual 360 News Feed

Get the latest immigration-related news, courtesy of the NAFSA Adviser's Manual 360.

You can subscribe to the Adviser's Manual 360 RSS News Feed using any RSS feed aggregator, as well as through RSS feed readers that come with web accounts like My Yahoo and email programs like Microsoft Office. Copy and paste the following feed URL into your feed aggregator or email program:

https://www.nafsa.org/rss-feed.xml?feed=am_news

2020

Cap-Subject H-1B Petition Filing Opens April 1 for Petitioners with USCIS-Selected Beneficiaries

April 1, 2020
On March 30, 2020, USCIS announced that employers may file H-1B cap-subject petitions beginning April 1, 2020, for beneficiaries registered by the petitioner and selected by USCIS in the FY 2021 registration process.
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USCIS Completes H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process For FY 2021 Cap-Subject Numbers

March 27, 2020
On March 27, 2020, USCIS announced that it had received a sufficient number of electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the FY 2021 H-1B cap, and would notify petitioners by March 31, 2020, that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration, during the 90-day petition filing period starting April 1, 2020. Only petitioners with selected registrations may file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2021, and only for the beneficiary in the applicable selected registration notice. Also, on March 20, 2020 USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing service for all Form I-129 (including cap-exempt petitions) and I-140 petitions until further notice due to COVID-19 (March 20, 2020).
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COVID-19 Updates Week of March 23 - March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020
Here is a round-up of links posted to NAFSA's Corona Virus Critical Updates page this week. Visit www.nafsa.org/coronavirus to link to more information on these and subsequent updates. USCIS Announces 60-Day Grace Period to Respond to RFEs and NOIDs / Update on Visas for Medical Professionals / SEVP Allows Emailing Students Signed Forms I-20 / Canada-Mexico "Congregate Settings" Restrictions / OFLC Issues Electronic PERM Labor Certifications in Response to COVID-19 / SEVP Clarifies That "Five Month Rule" Not Applicable While COVID-19 Measures In Place / COVID-19 and Federal Financial Aid for Education Abroad FAQ / TSA will Accept Expired Driver's Licenses on Flights.
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OFLC to Issue Electronic PERM Labor Certifications in Response to COVID-19

March 24, 2020
Beginning March 25, 2020, and through June 30, 2020, DOL will send approved permanent labor certifications by email, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving the certified Form ETA-9089 by email, the form must be printed, and then signed and dated by each of the following prior to filing the Form I-140 with USCIS: the foreign worker, preparer (if applicable), and the employer. USCIS may consider this printed Form ETA-9089, containing all signatures, as satisfying the requirement that petitioners provide evidence of an original labor certification issued by DOL.
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Entry to U.S. from Canada and Mexico Through Land Ports of Entry Limited to "Essential Travel"

March 20, 2020
The United States, Canada, and Mexico agree to temporarily limit entry into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada and United States-Mexico borders to “essential travel,” for an initial period of 30 days. April 20, 2020. Included in the examples of "essential travel" in the Canada notice are travel by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, "Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions," and "Individuals traveling to work in the United States."
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USCIS suspends in-person services at local Field Offices and Application Support Centers

March 19, 2020
USCIS posted this alert on its USCIS Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page: "As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public." Most applications and petitions filed by schools, students, and scholars are filed at USCIS Service Centers and Lockboxes, not in person at local Field Offices. However, actions that are impacted by the suspension of in-person services include biometrics appointments at USCIS Application Support Centers (required, e.g., for change of status, F-1 and M-1 reinstatement, and other benefits requests filed on Form I-539), and adjustment of status interviews.
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General suspension of visa services announcement from travel.state.gov.

March 18, 2020
On March 18, 2020, travel.state.gov posted the following message on its Facebook page. A similar message was tweeted. "In response to worldwide challenges related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of State is suspending routine visa services in most countries worldwide. Embassies and consulates in these countries will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020. These embassies and consulates will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Check the website of the embassy or consulate for its current operating status: usembassy.gov."
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NAFSA Letter to DHS on Regulatory Issues and COVID-19

March 17, 2020
In a March 16, 2020 letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Esther Brimmer requested DHS exercise its discretion to allow for flexibility in adjudication of benefit requests and status determinations for international students and scholars who are impacted by COVID-19 and the measures institutions of higher education are taking in response to it.
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United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Entry Restrictions

March 15, 2020
A March 14, 2020 Presidential Proclamation imposes an entry ban on nonimmigrants and immigrants who have recently traveled to to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Effective "at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020."
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SEVP Issues COVID-19 Follow-Up Guidance

March 14, 2020
On March 13, 2020, SEVP published a follow-up to its March 9, 2020 guidance, identifying three common scenarios related to emergency procedures implemented by SEVP-certified schools: 1) A school completely closes and does not have online courses or other alternate learning procedures; 2) A school temporarily stops in-person classes but implements online or other alternate learning procedures and the nonimmigrant student remains in the United States; and 3) A school temporarily stops in-person classes but implements online or other alternate learning procedures and the nonimmigrant student departs the United States.
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