USCIS and DHS Announce a Revised Form I-9 and a New Option for Employers to Remotely Examine Employees’ Documents
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification will be available starting August 1, 2023. The current version can be used through October 31, 2023; however, as of November 1, 2023, only the revised version may be used.

DHS Ending Flexibilities that Permit Employers to Remotely Verify Documentation for New Hires
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that employers will have 30 days to reach compliance with Form I-9 requirements after the COVID-19 flexibilities sunset on July 31, 2023.

USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Petitions
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service announced implementation of the final phase of premium processing expansion for employment-based first and second preference I-140 petitions.

USCIS Proposes Significant Fee Increases for Immigration Services; Will Impact U.S. Employers and Foreign Investors
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a Notice of Prospective Rulemaking proposing a sweeping fee hike for immigration services across the board. The proposed fee increases range between 40 percent to 200 percent over the current fee schedule.

Immigration Challenges & Solutions: Leveraging International Talent in a Tight Labor Market
Corporate immigration and a cross-border workforce are one of the many considerations for in-house counsel today. Increasingly, companies are turning to international workers and this creates both business opportunities and compliance risks for employers. A panel of immigration attorneys discuss issues surrounding employing global workers in a competitive talent market.

New USCIS Rule Automatically Extends Some Noncitizens’ Work Permits for Up to 540 Days
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a Temporary Final Rule that will automatically extend the period of employment authorization up to 540 days beyond the expiration date of the Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) of certain noncitizens’ who timely filed to renew their EAD.

FY2023 H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it has received enough FY2023 H-1B electronic registrations to reach the cap and that it has notified petitioners whose registrations were selected that they are eligible to file a cap-subject H-1B petition for the beneficiary listed on the selected registration.

DHS Designates Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status
On March 16, 2022, DHS announced the designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, based on continued armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent Afghan nationals from safely returning home.

DHS Begins Signifying Automatic Work Authorization for E and L Spouses with Use of a New Admission Code
In a highly anticipated development, DHS has revealed that as of January 31, 2022 the E and L dependent spouses will have a special code noted on their I-94. This new code signifies the automatic employment authorization associated with the statuses of E and L dependent spouses.

U.S. Department of State Extends In-Person Interview Requirement Waiver for Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants
The U.S. Department of State has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants through the end of 2022.

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Employment Authorization for Certain H-4, E, and L Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses
On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued policy guidance to automatically extend employment authorization for H-4, E, and L nonimmigrant dependent spouses under certain circumstances.

DHS Settlement Expands Employment Authorization Benefits for L-2 and H-4 Spouses
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has agreed to a settlement in the case of Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, resulting in important policy changes immediately affecting L-2 and H-4 visa holders’ work authorization for the better.

Biden Administration to Lift COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Visitors and Plans to Reopen Land Border Crossings
The White House has announced that it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions starting November 8, 2021 for international visitors who are fully vaccinated. Also, the Department of Homeland Security has announced amendments to Title 19 regulations in two phases.

Government Shutdown Immigration Impacts
How are immigration benefits impacted if Congress is unable to agree on a spending bill and the U.S. government shuts down?

Biden Administration: C-19 Travel Bans to be Lifted for Fully Vaccinated
The Biden Administration announced on Monday, September 20, 2021 that it plans to rescind travel bans beginning November 2021 and will instead require proof of vaccination for international travelers.

U.S. Department of State Announces Extension of Validity for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland and India
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that it will extend the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland and India who are subject to Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199 and similar PPs related to COVID-19.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Jeff Widdison Speaks on Criminal Grounds of Removability at National Immigration Law Conference
Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Jeff Widdison recently participated as a panelist at the American Immigration Lawyers Association 2021 Annual Conference.  The national conference this year was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Legal Guide To Starting a Business in the United States
Starting a business in the United States can open doors for massive opportunity and success. Along the way, however, businesses will encounter a number of legal and regulatory hurdles. This “Guide to Starting Business in the U.S.” reflects the incalculable number of personal, legislative, health and safety and business changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of the fundamental components of starting a business in the United States have not changed (e.g., choice of entity, entity formation and registering IP), a multitude of policies, protocols and legislative changes have impacted various practical, financial and risk considerations international businesses must consider when starting a business in the U.S. (e.g., immigration, tax, employment, privacy and security and economic incentives for certain industries).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Changes National Interest Exception Adjudication Policy (May 17, 2021)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has changed its policy regarding adjudicating requests for National Interest Exceptions (NIE) to Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992 and 10143 which restrict travel to the U.S. from China, Iran, the Schengen States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.

Immigration Tips for International Business Travelers During the Pandemic (Area Development – May 12, 2021)
As international business travelers resume their travel to the U.S. for site visits and face-to-face meetings, there are specific guidelines to keep in mind to facilitate the entry process.

U.S. State Department Makes Changes to National Interest Exception Eligibility (March 4, 2021)
On March 2, 2021 the United States Department of State (DOS) retracted the previous national interest determination applicable to certain categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 as it relates to the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland. The previous national interest determination included certain technical experts and specialists, senior level managers and executives, treaty traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.

Midnight Regulations Spell Trouble for Nonimmigrant Workers & Their Employers (January 19, 2021)
On January 8, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published the Modification of H-1B Cap Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions Rule. Should it be implemented, this rule will change how cap-subject H-1B visa registrations are selected for processing and dramatically impact employers’ ability to hire entry-level foreign national workers.

Negative COVID-19 Test or Proof of Recovery from COVID-19 Required for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States (January 13, 2021)
Effective January 26, 2021, by order of the CDC, all air passengers age two (2) and older arriving in the United States from a foreign country must be tested for COVID-19 and present proof of a negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.

Judge Rules Against Another Attempt by Trump to Restrict Legal Immigration (December 2, 2020)
The courts dealt another blow to the Trump administration’s continued efforts to restrict immigration, providing relief for companies looking to fill and retain critical positions with foreign talent.

USCIS Interim Final Rule Revising Definition of “Specialty Occupation” (October 7, 2020)
On October 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to be published on October 8, 2020 and to take effect on December 7, 2020. The rule revises regulations regarding the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Susan Ramos Speaks on Naturalization Issues at Immigration Law Conference (July 21, 2020)
Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Susan Ramos was among the speakers at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference on Immigration Law.

Presidential Proclamation Limits Nonimmigrant Entry, Extends Immigrant Restrictions (June 23, 2020)
At 11:01 am Eastern on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the United States will suspend entry of certain nonimmigrants pursuant to Presidential Proclamation. The suspension will last until December 31, 2020, but may be continued or modified.

President Trump Suspends Immigrant Entry to the U.S. (April 23, 2020)
At 11:59 pm Eastern on Thursday, April 23, 2020, the United States will suspend entry of immigrants pursuant to Presidential Proclamation. The suspension will last 60 days but may be continued or modified.

COVID-19 Immigration-Related Q&A (March 23, 2020)
Because U.S. immigration law is highly dependent upon individual facts and circumstances, the following Q & A is intended as general information only and not as legal advice. Please contact the Womble Immigration Solutions Team for case-specific information.

COVID-19 European Travel Ban (March 12, 2020)
Effective Friday, March 13, 2020 at midnight, the United States will for 30 days suspend the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

Employer Compliance & Enforcement 2019 in Retrospect – Where do We Go from Here? (Jan 6 2020)
This article is based on a recent presentation to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Baltimore Chapter given by Jennifer Cory and Kate Christensen Mills.

USCIS Reaches FY2020 H-1B Cap (April 8, 2019)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated 65,000 regular cap for fiscal year 2020.

USCIS Announces FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season Start, Updates, and Changes (March 25, 2019)
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will begin to accept Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap cases on April 1, 2019, but not all FY 2020 cap cases will be permitted to request premium processing at that time. USCIS will only accept concurrently-filed premium processing requests for regular cap cases that request a change of status.

Is Immigration Reform Needed and Why Should Financial Institutions Care? (September 4, 2018)
On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American (BAHA) Presidential Executive Order. The mandate is designed to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers by administering and enforcing federal immigration laws. BAHA directs those federal agencies responsible to propose new rules and new guidance.

Still An Unsolved Mystery – The H-1B Visa Lottery Process (July 16, 2018)
Not unlike the stone heads of Easter Island, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and the number of licks required to reach the center of Tootsie Pop, the H-1B visa lottery remains an enigma to many.

The Four Pillars (February 1, 2018)
In his first State of the Union address, President Trump described four “pillars” to his immigration plan, with mixed reception. The pillars reinforce his campaign slogan to “Buy American, Hire American” and track with the immigration policy priorities he has previously outlined. These priorities include border security, interior enforcement and a merit-based immigration system.

Raise Your Hand If You’re Confused about I-9 Reverifications for Employees with TPS (Jauary 22, 2018)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian benefit available to foreign nationals who are unable to return to their home countries because of certain temporary conditions including ongoing armed conflict such as civil war, an environmental disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, epidemic, or other extraordinary conditions. During TPS designation, qualifying foreign nationals are not removable from the US and can obtain work authorization and travel permission.

Can They Really Do That? (November 7, 2017)
Effective October 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Index, and National File Tracking System of Records, implemented new or modified uses of information maintained on individuals as they pass through the immigration process.