Author: Christine Poarch

COVID-19 Vaccinations Required for Applicants Applying for LPR Status in US & Abroad

Starting October 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the U.S. Department of State will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all applicants applying for lawful permanent residence with a few exceptions. All applicants who receive their medical examination from a Civil Surgeon or Panel Physician on or after October 1, 2021, must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series and provide documentation of vaccination.2 This change will impact anyone who completes Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, on or after October 1, 2021. If the medical examination forms are completed before October 1, 2021, they remain valid and the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required. The Civil Surgeon must physically inspect and confirm the applicant’s documentation that they have received all appropriate doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The proper review of vaccination documentation will be in the form of a vaccination record, copy of a medical chart with physician entries, or by appropriate medical personnel. Self-reported vaccine doses without written documentation will not be accepted.

Exceptions: Blanket waivers are available for applicants who are too young to receive the vaccine, have a medical contraindication to the vaccine, or who do not have access to one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in their countries. In addition, individuals may apply for an individual waiver based on religious or moral convictions with USCIS.

Contact Poarch Thompson Law for more information.

DHS Limits ICE and CBP Civil Enforcement Actions In or Near Courthouses

This week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses. A civil immigration enforcement action may be taken in or near a courthouse only in certain limited instances, including the following: (1) it involves a national security matter, (2) there is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person,  (3) it involves hot pursuit of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, or (4) there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to a criminal case. This policy supersedes an ICE Directive issued in 2018 and marks the first time CBP has ever had formal policy guidance regarding civil immigration enforcement in or near courthouses.

“Ensuring that individuals have access to the courts advances the fair administration of justice, promotes safety for crime victims, and helps to guarantee equal protection under the law,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement. Today’s guidance is the latest step in our efforts to focus our civil immigration enforcement resources on threats to homeland security and public safety.”

Employers can use I-797 to complete I-9 verification

Due to USCIS delays in production of certain employment authorization documents, USCIS announced that employees may use Form I-797, Notice of Action to complete I-9 verification with the following caveats: 

  • the notice date on the I-797 must be on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020; 
  • receipt notice is not sufficient, it must be an I-797 informing an applicant of approval of an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765); 
  • the I-797 approval notice functions as a List C document through December 1, 2020 even though it states on its face that it is not evidence of employment authorization; 
  • the use of the I-797 as described above is not a List A document (establishing both identity and employment authorization) or a List B document (establishing identity), so employees who present a Form I-797 Notice of Action described above for new employment must also present their employer with an acceptable List B document that establishes identity. 

The lists of acceptable documents are on Form I-9.  

For reverification, employees can present this Form I-797 Notice of Action as proof of employment authorization under List C. 

By December 1, 2020, employers must reverify employees who presented this Form I-797 Notice of Action as a List C document. These employees will need to present their employers with new evidence of employment authorization from either List A or List C. We encourage employers to accept new EADs presented by employees as soon as they receive them from USCIS prior to December 1, 2020, to satisfy the reverification requirement.  However, it is the employees’ choice whether to present their new EADs, or a different document from either List A or List C. 

As always, contact Poarch Thompson Law if you have questions or need clarification. 

Current through 9.1.20

USCIS avoids furlough; warns longer wait times

USCIS announced that it will not furlough approximately 13,400 employees but at the cost of increased USCIS delays. 

This year, USCIS processing times have increased substantially, including for work authorization. This decision, by USCIS’ own admission (Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow) “comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board” and offers no guarantee that it will avoid future furloughs. 

USCIS announced that anticipated operational impacts include “increased wait times for pending case inquiries with the USCIS Contact Center, longer case processing times, and increased adjudication time for aliens adjusting status or naturalizing.” All of these filings have seen delays already under this administration and as a result of COVID closures.

As always, contact Poarch Thompson Law if you have questions or need clarification. 

Current through 9.1.20

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