The Biden Administration took charge on 20th January 2021. Numerous executive orders have been executed since that date, some of which directly change the way of handling immigration matters. However, the U.S. and, the world is as yet dealing with the worldwide pandemic and this directly influences submissions, filings, and consular appointments. This update gives a list of the latest updates to U.S. visas and immigration matters, as well as what we estimate for the months to come.
Immigrant Visa Ban Under Biden Administration
The Immigrant Visa Ban that was imposed last year was revoked on 24th February 2021. Presently employment and family-based immigrant visas can again be given by the U.S. Consulates.
Entry to the U.S. via a Land Port of Entry from Mexico and Canada
The entry through land ports stays confined to essential travel, those on work visas, U.S. residents, U.S. permanent residents, and a few other limited exceptions. The entry restrictions are temporary and as of now are required to remain in effect through 21st March 2021. The date has been postponed a few times and it is unknown if it will again be delayed.
Covid Travel Ban Restrictions
Any travel from Brazil, China, U.K., Ireland, Schengen Countries, and Iran is subject to a National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver from the U.S. Office before going to the U.S.
Negative Covid Test
All inbound travelers are needed to acquire a negative Covid test within 72 hours before boarding the flight. This includes air travel from Mexico and Canada.
Local Quarantine Rules in the U.S.
All travelers should also research local travel rules upon arrival in the U.S. For instance, New York City and San Francisco have extra isolate rules upon arrival.
Visa Stamping Ban
The Visa Stamping Ban that was imposed through an executive order from the earlier government for H-1B, L-1, J-1, and H-2B remains in effect. This ban terminates on 31st March 2021. The Biden administration isn’t expected to extend this ban. This ban prevents the U.S. Offices from giving new visas in this category. This ban has prevented numerous executives and highly skilled workers from being able to enter the U.S
The selection criteria will be the same as last year. The lottery begins on 9th March 2021 and goes on 31st March 2021. Winners will be declared on March 31 and then the employer has until 30th June 2021, to file the H-1B petition.
H-1B Adjudications at USCIS
The H-1B Adjudications at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is expected to get back to 2016 norms, with deference given to earlier adjudications, acceptance of multiple educational pathways to an H-1B occupation, etc.
USCIS Operational Efficiency
Expected to be a priority going ahead. The Biden Administration is required to guarantee that USCIS operates at an effective speed so the backlogs of prior years are not repeated.
The U.S. will again give opportunities for candidates to apply and have a credible fear interview at the border. If they pass the credible fear interview, they will be allowed into the U.S. to await their full asylum merits hearing before an Immigration Judge.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Under the new Administrations, some kind of immigration legislation is expected. Such new provisions are required to address both the labor market and humanitarian needs. The Biden Administration declared a draft plan on 18th February 2021.
For U.S. organizations looking to hire foreign employees or international businesses looking to invest in the U.S., navigating the ever-changing U.S. immigration landscape can be tricky. This is particularly the case following the change in presidential administrations and the reshaping of immigration policies the Biden administration is pursuing.