International Travel Update:
On November 26th, 2021, the White House issued a proclamation suspending and limiting entry into the United States for certain individuals traveling from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe which are the countries where the COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected in substantive numbers thus far. Restrictions began November 29th and apply to certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present in any of the restricted countries during the 14 days preceding their intended entry into the U.S. Importantly, the travel restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents; spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents; non-citizens who are parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children; minor children with U.S. citizen siblings; any non-citizens who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces or are a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces; non-citizens traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus; and any non-citizens whose entry would be in the national interest of the United States.
The new restrictions supplement the recently announced public health travel requirements, which mandate proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel to the U.S. and/or being fully vaccinated for COVID-19. When planning international travel, contact your immigration counsel to determine whether the new restrictions apply to you and if you can benefit from the exemptions above.
Department of Homeland Security News:
Unexpectedly, on November 19th, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) conducted a third lottery round to select additional registrations to reach the fiscal year H-1B numerical allocations (including the Master’s CAP). Individuals selected will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice with additional details regarding the H-1B petition filing based on the selection. USCIS has indicated that the filing period for this third lottery round begins November 22, 2021, and ends February 23, 2022. The petitions must be properly filed at the correct service center and within the filing period indicated on the selection notice. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions at this time.