The White House recently announced that beginning May 12, 2023, the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for entry to the United States will no longer apply to nonimmigrant international air travelers. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would end the COVID-19 vaccination requirements as of May 12, 2023 for non-U.S.
By: Dawn Lurie, Matthew Parker, and Amber Olson
On July 22, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a reminder regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) termination of the COVID-19 temporary policy allowing employers to accept expired List B documents for the Form I-9. As of May 1, 2022, employers must only…
By: Dawn M. Lurie
Seyfarth Synopsis: On April 25, ICE announced its 13th extension, this time for a six-month period (until October 31, 2022), of the I-9 compliance flexibility rules relating to Form I-9. There is no substantive change in this extension of the policy, allowing for the “in-person” exemption (of identity and work authorization document review), benefiting certain employees and offering flexibility for companies that are phasing back in employees. While we are confident that the government is considering a permanent virtual option, we continue to advise employers to work under the assumption that anyone initially verified using the virtual flexibility will be required to conduct an in-person update as employees return to the workplace, especially in cases where identity was not verified (i.e. those that used the fax/email option).
Lucky #13 – Extension of the COVID I-9 Flexibility
In a thirteenth extension, ending on Halloween 2022, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) posted an unprecedented (it’s been a while since I said that word) six (6) month extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance, initially granted in March 2020. These flexibilities are now extended until October 31, 2022. The posting on the website is a bit confusing, as it just updates the December 2021 announcement, and includes an alert attached to the top of the page which indicates the new deadline.
ICE’s announcement affirms that employers who are taking COVID-19 related precautions and offering working in remote or hybrid environments, may continue inspecting I-9 documents virtually for newly hired employees as well as for reverification of work authorizations. See our prior blog for the guidance and discussion on its forward-facing application, noting that ICE will evaluate a company’s situation “on a case-by-case basis” should a company have used virtual without the workforce being 100% remote from March 20, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Given the confusion and lack of guidance surrounding the directive, we remain optimistic that the government will show leniency for early misunderstandings and misapplications of the original policy.…
By: Dawn M. Lurie
Seyfarth Synopsis: ICE announces an extension to I-9 compliance flexibility rules relating to Form I-9 compliance that was initially granted in March of 2020 at the onset of COVID-19. It continues to allow for the “in-person” exemption (of identity and work authorization document review) benefiting certain employees, and offering flexibility for…
Late in the day, on May 26, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a 90-day extension for remote Form I-9 inspection, allowing flexibilities to continue through August 31, 2021.
While the U.S. appears to have turned a corner in the fight against COVID-19, most companies have yet to formulate and implement back to work policies. Thank you to ICE and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), for allowing these employers to head into the holiday weekend without having to worry about the fate of this anticipated extension. And thank you for the 90 days, rather than the shorter 30 or 60-day extensions issued previously.
The Devil is in the Details
It would not be a exciting blog post, if we didn’t have something interesting to point out. The ICE announcement includes two confusing items:…
Continue Reading Nothing “new” Other Than a 90 day Extension of Virtual I-9s
Seyfarth Synopsis: The U.S. announced on April 30, 2021 that most travel from India will be restricted effective May 4, 2021, due to rising COVID-19 infections in India.
On April 30, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that following advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the U.S. will restrict…
By: Dawn M. Lurie
Seyfarth Synopsis: This announcement extends the flexibilities in rules relating to Form I-9 compliance that was initially granted last year. It also expands the scope of the “in-person” exemption benefit to certain employees, and offers flexibility for companies that are phasing back in employees, as doing so will no longer trigger the in-person requirement for all new hires. While an improvement in the overall dialogue, the guidance leaves uncertainty regarding the end of I-9 virtual flexibility, and as such, employers should consider moving away from the virtual completion model while continuing to heavily document current practices.
With employers impatiently waiting, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced (at 2:00 PM EST on March 31, 2021) another sixty (60) day extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance, initially granted in March 2020. These flexibilities have been extended until May 31, 2021. The announcement was expected, as a portion of the American workforce is still very much remote, including much of the federal government in Washington, D.C. However, the delay in the announcement was disappointing, causing unnecessary stress on already fragile H.R. departments.
Continue Reading ICE Warms to the Cold Realities of COVID-19: Latest I-9 Virtual Flexibility Guidance Extended to May 31, 2021
“America is back, the trans-Atlantic alliance is back.” – So declared President Biden on February 23, 2021. Apparently, however, Antony J. Blinken, the newly installed U.S. Secretary of State (DOS), didn’t get the memo. On March 2, 2021, he “rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 [relating] to the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.” As DOS’s announcement of the rescission noted, PP 10143, issued on January 25, 2021, restricted the issuance of visas and U.S. entry to “certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.”
NIEs for travelers from these Trans-Atlantic countries had been granted (at times with relative ease at some U.S. embassies and consular posts) based on previous State Department guidance. Under the prior guidance, executives, managers and specialists in the E-1 and E-2 (treaty traders and investors), H-1B (specialty occupation workers) and L-1 (intracompany transferees) visa categories, whose visit could be shown as likely to confer “substantial economic benefit” on the U.S., would often be approved. (For background, see this blog post (“Pursuing a National Interest Exception to the Presidential Entry Bans on Economic Grounds — Not A Fool’s Errand,” and slide deck, “Getting Your Key Employees Back to the U.S. under the National Interest Exceptions” to Presidential Proclamations ~ A Conversation about Eligibility and Process.”)…
Continue Reading Why? Oh My! State Department Makes It Harder for Travelers from the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland to Receive National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) under Pandemic-Based Visa and Entry Bans
Globe-hoppers of the world, too long cabined and constrained by the pandemic, are exhilarated at the prospect of imminent foreign travel. Many have received the vaccine and are poised to fly far away for business or pleasure. The vaccinated among us, however, should not buy that airline ticket just yet – unless you know before you go how you will be treated at your foreign destination upon arrival, and upon departure.
Entry and Exit
Increasingly, as multiple variants of COVID-19 are identified, national governments worldwide have tightened entry protocols, and some have imposed exit restrictions. France, for example, has announced new requirements when departing the country. See “[What is:] Can I leave France?” – a Jeopardy-style question whose answer is: “You can only travel from France to a country outside the European space if you have pressing grounds for travel, or if you are travelling to your country of origin or residence.”…
Continue Reading Hey, Immigration Lawyer: Get Me a Coronavirus Passport