By: oscarcruzdelgado - Published on November 5th, 2021
On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Effective on November 8, 2021, at 12:01 am (ET), the proclamation moves away from country-by-country travel restrictions and adopts an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination, with limited exceptions. (86 FR 59603, 10/28/21)
Proclamation 10294 of October 25, 2021
Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID–19 Pandemic
The proclamation states:
This proclamation governs the entry into the United States of noncitizen nonimmigrants — that is, noncitizens who are visiting the United States or otherwise being admitted temporarily — traveling to the United States by air. It suspends the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants, except in limited circumstances, and it ensures that the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants is consistent with applicable health and safety determinations made by the Director of the CDC, including a requirement that, where appropriate, such individuals agree and arrange to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon their arrival.
Starting November 8, 2021, new COVID vaccination and testing requirements will be imposed for all air travel into the United States in lieu of the previous regional COVID travel restrictions. Before being allowed to board a plane, all air travelers coming to the United States will need to be vaccinated with FDA- or WHO-approved or authorized vaccines and provide proof of vaccination. Vaccinated travelers will also need to show a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure. There are very limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement, and non-vaccinated travelers who meet the exceptions will nonetheless need to show a negative COVID test taken within one day of departure.
See full article here.
The average case processing time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been increasing for years now. In 2014 the average case took about 5 months to process this changed to 9 months in 2020.
Many factors, including inefficient processing, understaffing, and changes in policy due to COVID-19 contribute to these longer wait times.
In the meantime you can work with your lawyer to file applications as early as is legally allowed. Many renewals can be submitted as early as 180 days prior to expiration.
Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, is required for most applicants filing for adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents. Starting October 1st, these forms must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Review of vaccination documentation will require:
Certain blanket exceptions include:
Make sure you are vaccinated and can show proof of your vaccination if you will be submitting an I-693 form after October 1st.
Starting Sept. 4, 2021, conditional permanent residents who filed an I-751 or I-829 form will receive a receipt notice that can be presented as evidence of continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date of the Green Card. This change is meant to be an accommodation for the longer processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829.
See the linked article for more details.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations required by those seeking U.S. lawful permanent residence. This requirement is to take effect on October 1st, 2021, and is required by all applicants above the age limit for available vaccines and who cannot document a medical contradiction.
To avoid delays in case processing make sure to be vaccinated!
On Monday, August 23, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published its Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) to solicit data and information from the public which it will use to inform its public charge regulatory proposal.
For background, “under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a noncitizen who is likely to become a public charge is generally inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident.” Depending on how the DHS defines “public charge” certain immigrants adjusting status could face potential inadmissibility.
To read the full article visit https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/dhs-seeks-public-comment-on-public-charge-rulemaking.
You can take part by posting a public comment. The public comment period is now open and will be closing on Oct. 22, 2021.
We have heard from community members that airlines have refused to allow immigrant visa holders to board flights to the United States, although the individual was exempt from the travel bans. This has been the case for many immigrant visa holders who are the spouses of green card holders. If this situation applies to you or a family member, you need to contact the embassy that issued the visa and request that they coordinate with CBP to allow you to travel. Below please find a sample email that you can use when emailing the embassy.
Subject of Email: Urgent Assistance Requested for Mr. Ali Alavi
Body of Email:
Dear Consular Officer,
I write to respectfully ask for your immediate assistance. Mr. Ali Alavi received an immigrant visa from your embassy (see attached). His visa is set to expire on June 16, 2020. Qatar Airlines has refused to allow him to board, although he is exempt from each of the proclamations that restricts travel to the U.S.
At issue are two presidential proclamations. Under Proclamation 9992 (dated February 29, 2020), the “entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” Section 2 of the proclamation states that the limitations do not apply to (ii) any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Mr. Alavi is the spouse of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (see copy of her green card and their marriage certificate attached), and therefore this proclamation does not apply to him.
Under Proclamation 10014 (dated April 23, 2020), the “entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” Section 2 states that this proclamation shall only apply to those who “do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation…” Mr. Alavi was in possession of a valid immigrant visa on April 23, 2020. Thus, the proclamation does not apply to him.
I have attached a copy of his new travel itinerary. Please coordinate with CBP so that this information is accurately reflected in your systems and he can safely board his flight. He only has one chance left to board a flight before his visa expires.
Once the email is sent and the embassy agrees to assist you, then you need to prepare the passenger for his/her flight. When the passenger arrives at the airport, it is possible that the gate agent believes that the passenger is not allowed to board the flight. The passenger should respectfully request that the gate agent contact the Regional Carrier Liaison Group (RCLG). When the gate agent contacts RCLG, RCLG will contact CBP to confirm that the passenger can fly. The airline can then allow the passenger to board his/her flight.
RCLG is open 24 hours/day 7 days/week.
Also, do not bring any prohibited items to the airport. Do not bring banned food (i.e. zereshk) or excessive cash to the airport. Fly light and make the travel easy.
For Immediate Release, May 21, 2020
Contact: Jessica Slind, email@example.com
Michael’s Frozen Custard Reopens Monroe Street Location
Owner’s Spouse Finally Obtains U.S. Visa and Reclaims General Manager Role
MADISON— The owner of Michael’s Frozen Custard, a beloved Madison, Wisconsin institution, reopened its Monroe Street location on May 7, 2020, after his spouse, the business’ general manager, was finally granted a U.S. visa after a long, painful wait outside the country.
The owner, Michael Dix, faced having to shutter Michael’s Frozen Custard entirely after his spouse, Sergio De La O Hernandez, was denied a U.S. visa. The Monroe Street location closed on September 9, 2019, as a result of the denial. Sergio had been kept out of the U.S. since August of 2018. The couple had hope that they would soon be reunited after Sergio won his appeal with the help and support of the Madison community.
With renewed hope that Sergio would finally be returning home, Michael began to prepare Michael’s Frozen Custard’s Monroe Street location to reopen. Sergio was granted his U.S. visa on May 7, 2020, and he finally re-entered the U.S. later that day. Sergio and Michael were reunited shortly thereafter. To celebrate, they re-opened the Monroe Street location that same day.
Michael and Sergio are now working hard to get their business up to full speed, to welcome customers back to their Monroe Street location, and to find a moment to catch their breaths after a very long and painful separation. The couple shared their thoughts on their experience:
We are so immensely grateful. We are grateful to finally be together again. We are grateful to every single person that wrote a letter or called their Senator and Representative. We are grateful for all the smiling faces and the kind words people have shared as they come back to Michael’s on Monroe Street. We want nothing more than to show our love and gratitude, and to bring joy to every neighbor, customer, and supporter.
Attorney Jessica Slind, an immigration attorney with Lotfi Legal LLC, a Madison-based immigration law firm, who handled Michael and Sergio’s case, shared her perspective:
Michael and Sergio’s story is a love story and a very American story. This is a couple who endured great obstacles and whose love weathered a storm and came through stronger. This is a community whose love and support for their neighbors and local custard shop helped save the business and reunite the owners. This is a happy ending to be celebrated by all.
But sadly, the hurdles that Michael and Sergio faced when up against the American immigration system are not unique. This complex and overly harsh system separates families every day. I hope Michael and Sergio’s story sheds light on how good people are suffering. May Michael and Sergio’s love and our community’s love for Michael’s Frozen Custard give us all hope for what we can accomplish when we come together.
For Immediate Release, April 28, 2020
Contact: Jessica Slind, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael’s Frozen Custard Preparing to Reopen Monroe Street Location
Owner Hopeful That Spouse Will Be Issued a Visa to Re-enter U.S. and
Reclaim General Manager Role
MADISON— The owner of Michael’s Frozen Custard, a beloved Madison, Wisconsin institution, is preparing to reopen its Monroe Street location in May in hopes that his spouse, the business’ general manager, will be able to return to the U.S. The owner, Michael Dix, faced having to shutter the business entirely after his spouse, Sergio De La O Hernandez, was denied a U.S. visa. This location closed on September 9, 2019, as a result. Sergio has been kept out of the U.S. since August of 2018, but the couple now has hope that Sergio will receive a visa allowing him to return to his Wisconsin home after winning his appeal. Michael is working to prepare the Monroe Street location to reopen upon Sergio’s return.
Michael and Sergio have been so grateful for the outpouring of support they received from their community. They read each and every one of the 150 letters sent in support of Sergio’s immigration case. Michael shared:
One day we sat down and read every letter. We were completely overwhelmed by the support and generosity we were shown. I cried. Sergio cried. It meant so much that so many people took the time to write letters and mail them to us. Those kind words have helped carry us through this difficult time. We want to pay that kindness back. With the new hope that Sergio will finally be able to come home, we want to reopen and bring smiles to the faces of all the people who supported us. Now is a time when we desperately need hope, I am very hopeful about Sergio’s return and the reopening of our shop. We want to provide the simple joys and happiness that our little custard shop brings to Madison.
“Sergio’s immigration case is ongoing, but we are hopeful that it will be resolved in the coming month and that he will finally be returned to his family and community,” said Attorney Jessica Slind, an immigration attorney with Lotfi Legal LLC, a Madison-based immigration law firm, who is handling Michael and Sergio’s case. “We look forward to updating the community once Sergio’s case has been fully resolved.”