The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will be publishing a notice tomorrow in the federal register that automatically extends the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal through December 31, 2022, from the current expiration date of October 4, 2021.
Please let SPS Immigration know if you have questions on how this impacts your immigration status.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced August 19, 2021 that applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the U.S. must obtain the COVID-19 vaccine series starting October 1, 2021. The CDC is providing waivers for individuals who are too young to receive the vaccine (currently, children under the age of 12), contraindications, or if the vaccine is not routinely available. Applicants may also request a waiver due to religious or moral convictions. Applicants who otherwise refuse the COVID-19 vaccine series in part or entirety will be inadmissible to the United States.
USCIS will be updating the Form I-693 and its instructions, but applicants for permanent residence are encouraged to immediately complete the COVID-19 vaccine series as applicants must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon in person before completion of the medical examination. This requirement is for anyone who received their medical exam on or after October 1, 2021.
If you have questions about how this may impact your immigration case, please contact SPS Immigration.
On July 28, 2021, USCIS randomly selected additional H-1B cap registrations that were previously submitted for FY 2022 after determining that it did not receive enough filed H-1B petitions to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. The H-1B petition filing period based on this second round of registration selections will begin on August 2, 2021 and close on November 3, 2021.
SPS Immigration is checking the USCIS portal and will notify clients if they have additional cases selected in this second lottery round. If you are a current FY 2022 H-1B lottery client, SPS will notify you if we have updates.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes Sarah Peterson of Minneapolis, MN, with the 2021 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award, in recognition of her outstanding service, over a period of years, in advancing the mission, development, and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves.
One of the nomination letters highlighted the concept known as “servant leadership” and lauded Ms. Peterson’s embodiment thereof: “Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. A servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. A servant leader exists to lead others through their service…Over the better part of the last decade, one would be hard pressed to name another member of AILA who has so tirelessly worked for the betterment of the membership with so much distinction.”
Sarah K. Peterson is the founder of SPS Immigration PLLC based in Minneapolis, MN. Her employment-based practice focuses on physicians, academia, start-ups, and high-tech companies.
Ms. Peterson actively participates in AILA efforts on both a local and national level. She currently serves as Chair of AILA’s Department of Labor (DOL) liaison committee since 2017 and has been an active Elected Director on the AILA Board of Governors since 2012. She previously served on AILA national Liaison committees with the California and Nebraska USCIS Service Centers, chaired and served as a member of AILA’s Healthcare Professionals Committee, and chaired the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter of AILA.
Recognized in the 2020 and 2021 editions of The Best Lawyers in America, she has also been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in Minnesota 2020, as one of 40 Up and Comers in Employment Law by HRE/LawDragon for several years and since 2020 in LawDragon 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers.
Ms. Peterson is listed in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers since 2014 including selection since 2018 as a ‘Thought Leader,’ and was one of Minnesota’s Lawyer’s Up and Coming Attorneys for 2010.
She is a three-time recipient of AILA’s Presidential Commendation for her service chairing AILA’s DOL committee. She was a contributing author to AILA’s Business Immigration Law & Procedure, second edition, frequently speaks with the press, and travels internationally to speak on employment-based immigration.
Ms. Peterson is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and holds a joint law degree and master’s in public policy from the University of Minnesota Law School and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
As part of litigation by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), Edakunniv. Mayorkas, the Acting Associate Director of Service Center Operations (“SCOPS”) for USCIS confirmed in a declaration that starting around May 17th it will no longer require biometrics for the dependents of H-1B, L-1, and E-2 visa holders. AILA has also requested that USCIS return to the policy of exercising discretion in approving dependent cases with the H-1B/L-1/E-2 Petitions, so hopefully we will eventually start to see this shift back, too.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this may impact your case.
Friday, February 26, 2021, USCIS announced flexibility for OPT receipt delays and improper rejections. These flexibilities apply only to OPT submissions received by USCIS on or after October 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021. USCIS’ flexibility includes the following:
14-month OPT Period Flexibilities
F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of post-completion OPT, which must be completed within 14 months from the end of their program. Due to the delays at the lockbox, some applicants may only be eligible for a shortened period of OPT within that 14-month period. To allow F-1 students to complete the full period of requested OPT (up to 12 months), USCIS will allow the 14-month period to commence from the date of approval of the Form I-765 for applications for post-completion OPT.
USCIS will now approve applications for post-completion OPT with validity dates reflecting the same amount of time originally recommended by the designated school official (DSO) from their school on the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. F-1 students who receive an approval of Form I-765 for less than the full amount of OPT time requested (not to exceed 12 months) due to the requirement that the OPT be completed within 14 months of the program end date may request a correction of the EAD due to USCIS error. USCIS will issue a corrected EAD with a new end date, as requested, to cover the full amount of OPT time recommended in the original application.
Refiling Following Rejection
USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT as filed on the original filing date if:
– The original, timely filed application was received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021, inclusive; and
– USCIS subsequently rejected it.
Refiled applications must be received by May 31, 2021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.
Applicants refiling a Form I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT do not need to obtain a new Form I-20 with an updated OPT recommendation from the DSO, as long as they originally submitted an application for post-completion OPT within 30 days of the DSO’s recommendation or an application for STEM OPT within 60 days of the DSO’s recommendation as required by the regulations.
Missing or Deficient Signatures
If the lockbox accepts a Form I-765 application for OPT or STEM OPT with a missing or deficient signature, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence rather than deny the application, to give the applicant the opportunity to respond and provide the necessary signature or correct the deficiency.
Please contact SPS Immigration should you have questions regarding your immigration status.
USCIS announced that all In-Person Services are suspended January 19th and 20th, 2021, to ensure the safety of employees and individuals with appointments. This announcement was made in response to the attacks on our Nation’s Capitol and the ongoing security threats to the U.S. government and its buildings. These closures include all in-person services at all USCIS field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers. USCIS will reschedule individuals who had appointments and send fresh appointment notices reflecting the new appointment dates. SPS Immigration urges clients to not try to attend any scheduled appointments on these days.