COVID-19 Temporary Policy for I-9 List B Documents to End on May 1

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that beginning May 1, 2022, it is ending the COVID-19 temporary policy for List B identity documents. As of that date, employers will no longer be able to accept expired List B documents.

If an employee presented an expired List B document between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022, employers must update their I-9 employment authorization verification forms by July 31, 2022. DHS provided the following table with details:

Source: ABIL Newsletter, March 20, 2022, and E-Verify notice, Mar. 17, 2022, https://www.e-verify.gov/about-e-verify/whats-new/dhs-to-end-covid-19-temporary-policy-for-expired-list-b-identity-documents

Eligible Individuals Encouraged to Apply for Adjustment in the E-2 Category

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for April 2022 advances the date for filing applications for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status in the EB-2 category for India from September 1, 2013, to September 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages noncitizens who have approved immigrant visa petitions in the EB-2 category chargeable to India and a priority date earlier than September 1, 2014, to consider applying for adjustment of status in April.

USCIS noted that applicants should include Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to save time. Concurrently filing these two forms is not required, “but filing both forms at the same time may eliminate the need for USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence to obtain your Form I-693. This may also help avoid adjudication delays if we decide that you do not need to be interviewed,” USCIS said.

USCIS continues to encourage eligible applicants to consider requesting to transfer the underlying basis of their pending adjustment of status applications in the EB-3 category to the EB-1 or EB-2 category if they meet the following criteria: a visa is unavailable to them in the EB-3 category; they have a pending or approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; and a visa is available in the EB-1 or EB-2 category.

Source: ABIL Newsletter, March 20, 2022, and USCIS alert, Mar. 17, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-urges-eligible-individuals-to-consider-applying-for-adjustment-of-status-in-the-eb-2-category; Visa Bulletin for April 2022, Dept. of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2022/visa-bulletin-for-april-2022.html

Department of State Warns About Upcoming Availability of Employment Third Preference Numbers

The Department of State (DOS) notes in its Visa Bulletin for April 2022 that the high number used in the employment third preference “Other Workers” (EW) category may necessitate the establishment of a worldwide final action date as early as June to hold the number use within the maximum allowed under the fiscal year 2022 annual limit. “This situation will be continually monitored, and any necessary adjustments will be made accordingly,” DOS said.

Source: ABIL Newsletter, March 20, 2022, and Visa Bulletin for April 2022, Dept. of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2022/visa-bulletin-for-april-2022.html

USCIS To Resume Public Services on June 4

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 15, 2022, that it is preparing some domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4, 2022. USCIS said it is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.

While certain offices are temporarily closed, USCIS continues to provide limited emergency in-person services. As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews “to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy.” USCIS said, “If you are feeling sick, please do not go to your appointment. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for if you are sick.”

Source: ABIL Newsletter, March 20, 2022, and USCIS alert, Mar. 15, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-preparing-to-resume-public-services-on-june-4

USCIS Issues Updated Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 18, 2022, that it is updating guidance to address the documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status. USCIS noted:

· On November 12, 2021, USCIS issued a policy announcement to clarify that it would consider E and L spouses to be employment-authorized based on their valid E or L nonimmigrant status. Since the November 2021 announcement, the Department of Homeland Security added new Class of Admission (COA) codes to distinguish between E and L spouses and children.

· As of January 30, 2022, USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began issuing Forms I-94 with the following new COA codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses under List C of Form I-9.

· An E or L spouse aged 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before January 30, 2022, will receive a notice from USCIS beginning on or about April 1, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. An E or L spouse who is under 21, or has not received the notice by April 30, can email [email protected] to request a notice.

· USCIS will only send notices to individuals identified as qualifying spouses based on a Form I-539 approved by USCIS. Individuals who received their Form I-94 from CBP should visit www.cbp.gov.

Source: ABIL Newsletter, March 20, 2022, and USCIS alert, Mar. 18, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-guidance-on-employment-authorization-for-e-and-l-nonimmigrant-spouses