Department of Homeland Security
USCIS Provides Updated Guidance on Status-Authorized Employment and Extended EAD Validity
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has updated its policy manual to reflect the government agency’s decision to increase the validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (“EADs”) up to five (5) years for certain nonimmigrant categories. This change comes as USCIS has implemented a series of new processes and changes to reduce current backlogs and the frequency with which applicants must renew certain documentation. Nonimmigrant categories that will benefit from this change include:
- Applicants with pending adjustment of status applications filed pursuant to INA 245;
- Paroled and admitted refugees;
- Individuals granted asylum;
- Citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau;
- Individuals who have been granted withholding of deportation or removal;
- Individuals with pending applications for asylum;
- Individuals with pending applications for suspension of deportation, cancellation of removal or relief under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act and
- CNMI long-term residents.
Further, USCIS has provided clarification regarding categories of noncitizens who are authorized to work incident to status. These categories include (but are not limited to):
- E-1, E-2 and E-3 spouses;
- L-1 spouses;
- Temporary protected status (“TPS”) individuals and
- Refugees and asylees.
The full listing of nonimmigrants categorized for employment authorization incident to status can be found here. Please continue to monitor Immigration Insights for the latest updates on USCIS policy changes and news.
USCIS Eliminates Biometrics Fee for Form I-539
As of October 1, 2023, USCIS has eliminated the biometrics services fee for Form I-539, the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, as part of their goal to remove the biometrics services fee and requirement completely for all Form I-539 Applicants. Although applicants are no longer required to pay the biometrics fee, USCIS may require some applicants to attend a biometrics appointment to confirm their identity and perform the required background and security checks. Individuals who receive a biometrics service appointment should attend the appointment accordingly. Please note that applicants who incorrectly include the biometrics fee ($85.00) in combination with the Form I-539 filing fee ($370.00) (i.e., one check or credit card payment for a total of $455.00) will have their application denied for submission of the incorrect filing fee. Contact immigration counsel for assistance with the proper filing of Form I-539.
Department of State and Department of Homeland Security
Israel Admitted into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program
The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated Israel as a Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) country. The VWP status will allow Israeli citizens and nationals to travel to the U.S., as well as U.S. citizens to travel to Israel, for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. The designation will take effect on November 30, 2023, at which time the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”) will be updated to include Israel as a VWP country. U.S. citizens may proceed with visa-free travel to Israel once the country updates its travel policies to reflect this change.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Munsch Hardt Immigration Team successfully assisted an international food production company with obtaining employment visas for its high-level managerial and specialized skill employees. Our team has extensive knowledge and experience assisting investors, traders and their essential employees in obtaining work authorization in the U.S.