Announcements

PANDEMIC-RELATED IMMIGRATION TRAVEL
The United States currently has various pandemic-specific travel bans and restrictions in place, and because many U.S. Embassies are still closed or operating at limited capacity, visa processing remains suspended or delayed. As resources allow, however, embassies and consulates are continuing to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services, as well as processing National Interest Exceptions for those who qualify. Overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Individuals interested in the operations of a particular post should contact that embassy or consulate directly

On June 22, President Trump signed a new proclamation regarding the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States. The new proclamation extends the previous proclamation limiting entry for certain individuals who are currently outside the United States (through December 31, 2020). This may have implications for anyone applying for H1B visas and green cards from outside the United States.

Conditions continue to evolve, so keep an eye on the following NAFSA information, which is being updated regularly:

Information regarding the June 22 proclamation
Overview of all COVID-related travel bans and restrictions

Visitors should work through their travel coordinator if any questions arise.


Partial Government Shutdown, December, 2018 – Impact on US Immigration

As of midnight on December 21, 2018, US Congress and President Trump were unable to pass a bill to extend funding of the Federal government, thus creating a partial shutdown of non-essential government services. All services will resume when an agreement is reached, however there is no news at this time as to when that will occur. Because many US Immigration services are considered essential, or are “fee-funded,” very few impacts will be seen during this shutdown. Most notably, President Trump signed a minibus appropriations bill in September of 2018 that funds the US Department of Labor (DOL) through the end of Septmeber, 2019. Thus, unlike with past shutdowns, DOL will remain operational and there will be no impact on H-1B applications; all processing will proceed as normal. 

The following agencies/services will also remain operational and in place during the shutdown:

  • UCAR’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the J-1 SEVIS database continue to operate as normal, as these are fee-funded programs.
  • US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – No impact on US entry processing will occur, as CPB’s role is directly related to national security, and therefore considered essential.
  • US Embassies/Consulates - At this time, it appears that US Embassies will remain operational, to include the Consular processing of US visas. Because visa services are partially fee-funded, these services should continue to operate normally. However, if the shutdown continues for an extended period of time, these services may be impacted. If you have a visa appointment, please plan on attending the appointment as scheduled, unless otherwise notified by the Embassy/Consulate. You can check with the Embassy in your area to confirm that Consular visa processing remains operational. Many US Embassy websites have already been updated with this information. A list of all US Embassy websites can be found here: https://www.usembassy.gov/
  • USCIS offices and services will be minimally impacted, as they are largely fee-funded as well. USCIS will continue processing H-1B and Permanent Residency applications during the shutdown, since funding for these activities is provided by the application filing fees. 


Update - Congress has until March 23rd to finalize the fiscal 2018 budget or to pass another temporary funding exension. If lawmakers fail to come to an agreement, another government shutdown will occur.

Government Shutdown, January 20, 2018 – Impact on US Immigration

As of January 20, 2018, US Congress was unable to pass a bill to extend funding of the Federal government, thus creating a partial shutdown of non-essential government services. All services will resume when Congress reaches an agreement, however there is no news at this time as to when that will occur. Because many US Immigration services are considered essential, or are “fee-funded,” impacts will only be seen in a limited number of specific areas.

The following agencies/services will remain operational and in place during the shutdown:

  • US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – No impact on US entry processing will occur, as CPB’s role is directly related to national security, and therefore considered essential.  
  • US Embassies/Consulates - At this time, it appears that US Embassies will remain operational, to include the Consular processing of US visas. Because visa services are partially fee-funded, these services should continue to operate normally. However, if the shutdown continues for an extended period of time, these services may be impacted. If you have a visa appointment, please plan on attending the appointment as scheduled, unless otherwise notified by the Embassy/Consulate. You can check with the Embassy in your area to confirm that Consular visa processing remains operational. Many US Embassy websites have already been updated with this information. A list of all US Embassy websites can be found here: https://www.usembassy.gov/
  • UCAR’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the J-1 SEVIS database continue to operate as normal, as these are fee-funded programs.
  • USCIS offices and services should not be impacted, as they are largely fee-funded as well.


The following agencies/services will not remain fully operational and services will be unavailable:

  • US Department of Labor (DOL) – DOL is not fee-funded, or considered “essential,” and so services are currently unavailable.  The processing of Permanent Labor Certifications (PERM), Labor Condition Applications (LCA), and prevailing wage determinations have come to a halt. This will impact the H-1B and green card/permanent residency process for some cases (please see below for more information on the limited cases that will be impacted).
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) – SSA is not fee-funded and will likely halt the processing of social security number applications and replacement card applications.
  • E-Verify – The E-Verify site will be offline during the shutdown. Employers will not be held to the usual E-Verify deadlines during the shutdown. Adverse action against any employee by an employer cannot take place due to an employer’s inability to verify employment eligibility in E-Verify due to the shutdown.

Disruptions to H-1B and green card/permanent residency petition processing are possible, depending on where the case is currently at in the process. All H-1B and green card applications that have been filed with USCIS will continue to be adjudicated. However, if a case is in the initial stages of processing, and an application or certification through the US Department of Labor (DOL) is in process, this will be delayed until the shutdown ends and DOL resumes processing. All H-1B petitions and some green card petitions require an application or certification from DOL before the application is considered complete and can be filed with USCIS for processing. If you have questions about the status of your pending H-1B or green card application, please do not hesitate to contact UCAR’s Immigration Specialist.

The situation remains very fluid. As significant updates or changes occur, the information on this page will be updated. Up-to-date information can also be found at the following NAFSA webpage:

http://www.nafsa.org/Professional_Resources/Browse_by_Interest/International_Students_and_Scholars/Government_Shutdown_2018/  


 

UPDATE - Premium Processing service for cap-exempt nonprofit research or governmental research organizations, has resumed, effective July 24, 2017.

Suspension of expedited processing for H-1B applications, 03/2017

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be implementing a temporary suspension of its premium processing option for all H-1B visa applications. This service allows expedited processing of some applications with an additional fee. 

This change will have significant implications for NCAR/UCAR., It will make hiring any foreign national on an H-1B challenging, as we won't be able to give an estimate of when the application might be approved and when the person can start work. It may also affect our current H-1B holders needing extensions. 

In an effort to reduce the impact, we have reached out to all individuals at NCAR/UCAR who have H-1B status and are currently eligible for an extension to see if they are interested in using the premium processing option before the suspension goes into effect. Note that USCIS limits the ability to extend H-1B status to those whose current expiration date is six months or less in the future.

The biggest challenge we will likely face as an institution will be the impact on new hires. Currently, an H-1B application through regular processing is taking approximately 8 months (compared to premium processing in about 3-4 weeks), according to a processing table provided by USCIS. This delay could make it more difficult to hire foreign nationals with the unique expertise we need for certain positions or programs, and it could potentially drive highly skilled candidates to apply for positions in other countries, where the immigration process is more predictable and less cumbersome. UCAR is currently working to communicate the impacts this suspension could have on our organization, and the research community as a whole, to congressional leaders.

If your laboratory/program has hiring offers in place for any H-1B individuals with a start date within the next 6 months, please contact Shonna Montoya immediately to see if the April 2 deadline can be met for these individuals. We can also discuss other options that might be available to foreign nationals we plan to hire within the next 8 to 9 months. As noted above, we have already reached out to all current H-1B holders who are eligible for an extension at this time.

Our hope is that premium processing will be available again within the next 6 months and that we can use that program again this fall. 

Please see the information here for more details about how this suspension will affect certain individuals.


CBP will no longer issue I-94 cards, 04/2013

Beginning April 30, 2013 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin phasing out the issuance of I-94 cards when foreign nationals enter the United States. Some foreign nationals may be accustomed to receiving the paper I-94 card in their passport when entering the United States. This form has always been a very important document and is often needed to obtain certain benefits in the U.S., such as obtaining a driver's license, social security number, etc. Form I-94 is the document that provides evidence of a foreign national's date of admission, class of admission, and the expiration of admittance in the U.S. (the foreign national must exit the U.S. on or before the departure date stamped on the I-94). Form I-94 also tracks each entry and departure from the United States. While a paper I-94 card will no longer be issued, theI-94 process is not changing, it is simply electronic. A stamp will now be placed in the passport that will provide the same informaion that has previously been stamped on the I-94 card (date of admission, class of admission and expiration of admission). This stamp will take the place of the acutal I-94 card and can be used as evidence of visa status and status/admission expiration. DMV, Social Security Administration and other benefit granting agencies have been advised to use the stamp in the passport as evidence in lieu of the hard copy I-94 card. In addition, there has been an I-94 web site added to CBP's site that allows foreign nationals to obtain a copy of (and print) their I-94 number and information: www.cbp.gov/i94

Please visit the CBP website for additional information: http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/i94_factsheet_2.pdf



Last updated by smontoya on December 17, 2020 - 11:41am.
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