Late Friday afternoon, April 3, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security posted the following questions and answers in response to stakeholders queries on Form I-9 obligations in the midst of COVID-19. We applaud the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for taking the lead on coordinating these responses and anticipate they will continue to be responsive to employer queries. The Q&A reiterates the original Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance, including confirming a hard deadline on timing- three days to complete the I-9 initially via a virtual/remote method and then three days to update with an in-person inspection once the business resumes normal operations. The Q&A also provides clarification on how to complete a Form I-9 with an expired driver’s license (sneak peek: use the actual expired date and write COVID-19 on the Form). Curiously the Q&A references electronic systems that don’t offer an additional information box field but suggests attaching a note to the I-9. The Q&A also confirms our suggestion, the person who views the documents in -person should enter their name and date in the Additional Information Box. Continue Reading New COVID-19 Q&As Related to Form I-9 and E-Verify
Following the lottery results issued this week, USCIS announced today that H-1B petitioners may begin submitting petitions during the 90 day window noted on the selection notice. USCIS reported nearly 275,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period with approximately 46% of all registrations under the advanced degree category. Continue Reading USCIS FY 2021 H-1B Cap Selections & Filing Window
In-Person Services Suspended Until At Least May 3
In response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) developments, as of April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its office closures suspending routine in-person services until May 3rd.
What does this mean for cases in progress?
USCIS will reschedule appointments for applicants with permanent resident (green card) interviews, naturalization interviews and naturalization ceremonies when local offices resume in-person services.
Applicants requiring biometrics to be completed through Application Support Centers (ASC) will have their appointments rescheduled automatically, rescheduling notices will be sent by mail.
Final decisions in some cases may be delayed for applications that require in-person interviews or the completion of biometrics. While this includes Form I-485 applications for adjustment of status, employment based I-485 applicants have reported receiving approvals of their applications the week of March 28th even though their interviews were cancelled due to COVID-19 USCIS office closures.
Form I-539 applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status (H-4, L-2, etc. for dependent spouse and children), as well as the Form I-765 employment authorization applications for new requests may also be impacted.
USCIS will utilize existing biometrics for Applicants who filed or will file the Form I-765 to extend employment authorization on or after the March 18th when USCIS closures went into effect. This will remain in effect until ASCs are open for appointments to the public.
What is not impacted by this notice?
As of the date of this posting, operations at USCIS Service Centers where most immigration benefit petitions are adjudicated are not impacted by these changes.
USCIS Premium Processing Suspension
As of March 20, 2020, USCIS will not be accepting premium processing request for any filings.
Seyfarth Shaw is closely monitoring ongoing developments impacting USCIS, DOL and DOS operations as COVID-19 developments continue.
With the closure of Social Security Administration (SSA) offices in the wake of COVID-19, we are receiving questions concerning the impact on work authorization for individuals who may have recently entered the U.S. in a temporary work authorized visa status, i.e. H-1B, L-1, TN, E etc.
While the Social Security Number (SSN) is used and required, in a variety of areas, it is not mandatory to be presented as proof of work authorization. Continue Reading SSA Office Closures and the Impact on SSN Issuance For Foreign Nationals
Updated on March 30, 2020. USCIS has now clarified that the response date flexibility also applies to certain Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers, as well as certain filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. In summary, the USCIS announcement applies to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, NOIT or appealable decision within AAO jurisdiction and the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, inclusive. Unfortunately this guidance still does not address the issues relating to requests, dated prior to March 1st, but due now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seyfarth will keep you updated with any further clarifications.
Posted on March 27, 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the difficulties applicants and petitioners are facing in meeting immigration related deadlines, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has extended response deadlines by 60 days for certain types of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs). It is important to note that this accommodation does not change individual status expiration dates, or auto extension dates for employment authorizations. Continue Reading A Step in the Right Direction: USCIS announces RFE AND NOID Extensions
Virtual Coffee on Virtual I-9s: Immigration Compliance in the Wake of COVID-19
Monday, March 30, 2020 at 11am EDT
Hosted by Seyfarth Shaw and the US Chamber of Commerce
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued I-9 and E-Verify guidance in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel, which includes a former head of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is moderated by the Executive Director of Immigration Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, will provide much needed insight and information regarding what employers’ Form I-9 obligations will be as DHS implements this temporary guidance that relaxes certain regulatory requirements in the wake of this emergency. The panel will also discuss the future of worksite enforcement.
Dawn M. Lurie, Senior Counsel, Co-Chair Immigration Enforcement & Compliance Practice, Seyfarth Shaw
Jon Baselice, Executive Director, Immigration Policy, US Chamber of Commerce
Julie Myers Wood, CEO of Guidepost Solutions LLC
Seyfarth Synopsis: E-Verify has offered guidance to employers to address concerns with expiring State Drivers’ Licenses and Identification Documents. The guidance, though, fails to address the situation where states have not granted temporary Driver’s Licenses or IDs extensions.
In response to queries sent by Seyfarth and other groups, E-Verify provided additional guidance addressing the COVID-19 National Emergency. We expect E-Verify to release a full FAQ in the next week. Today’s guidance addresses the expiration of State Drivers’ Licenses and Identification Documents where employees are unable to renew these documents because of closures or limited services at Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs). In light of the National Emergency many states have extended the validity of these documents. Continue Reading E-Verify COVID-19 Guidance on Expired Driver’s Licenses and State IDs
Seyfarth Synopsis: The outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in unprecedented travel restrictions, U.S. consular appointment cancellations, and changes to USCIS operations. To help navigate these challenges, Seyfarth is providing a brief summary of recent developments from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Labor.
Updates from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Continue Reading COVID-19 Immigration Updates From the Agencies
Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (“OFLC”) issued Frequently Asked Questions in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, providing guidance and extending certain filing, notice, and response deadlines for employers of foreign nationals.
- Employers will have thirty (30) days to post Labor Condition Application (LCA) notices for employees moving to a different worksite within the same intended area of employment, such as a home office.
- For employers unable to physically post LCA notices, DOL reminds employers of the option to electronically post, and the stringent requirements.
- Employers will benefit from a sixty (60) day extension of PERM recruitment and Notice of Filing (“NOF”) requirements for PERM applications filed by May 12, 2020, where recruitment began between September 15, 2019 and March 13, 2020.
- Employers may respond to DOL requests by May 12, 2020, where the original response deadline falls within the period from March 13, 2020 through May 12, 2020.