DOS Update

The Department of State (DOS) has extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations banning entry into the U.S. due to presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, India and the Schengen area. Existing NIEs and newly-issued NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. The 12 month and multiple entry extension applies retroactively to all existing NIEs approved in the last 12 months. Travelers can apply for NIEs if they meet certain criteria, which includes those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction to critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the U.S.; journalists; traveling due to extraordinary humanitarian circumstances; or traveling in support of national security or public health. It is important to contact your immigration counsel before any travel abroad to plan re-entry into the U.S.

USCIS Update

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow re-submission of fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020. Last year, the number of petitions filed during the initial filing period was below the number projected as needed to reach the numerical allocations, and a second selection of registrations was completed. The registrations selected during the second selection process had a filing period between August and November 2020. Due to the filing period, some petitioners indicated a start date after October 1, 2020, and these petitions were rejected or administratively closed by USCIS because of the start date. USCIS has clarified that the regulations do not require them to reject or close those petitions, and is now allowing re-submission of these petitions. Re-submitted petitions must be filed before October 1, 2021 and will be considered to have been filed on the original receipt date.

Form I-9 Compliance

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided updated guidance on acceptable receipts for completion of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Generally, when employees present a receipt to evidence they applied to replace a certain List A, B, or C document, they must present the replacement document for which the receipt was given within 90 days. However, since the replacement document is not always available by the 90-day period, employers may now accept another acceptable document (or documents) to establish identity and/or employment authorization. For example, if the receipt is for a List A document but the employee cannot present the actual replacement List A document for which the receipt was issued by the end of the 90-day receipt period, then the employee may choose to present a different document from List A, or one document each from List B and List C to satisfy the Form I-9 requirements. Contact your immigration counsel to discuss specific guidance on how to complete the Form I-9 when a receipt is presented by the employee.