U.S. immigration has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19

pandemic, resulting in the temporary suspension of visa processing

at U.S. consulates abroad, suspension of in-person services at U.S.

district offices, as well as the closure of U.S. land ports of

entry, except for essential travel. Even though U.S. immigration

has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are

two documents recently issued by the U.S. government, which may

have a positive impact for employment-based Green Card

applicants.

The first document is the May 2020 Visa Bulletin (Final Action

Date Chart) recently issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS),

which reflects priority dates in the Employment-Based, First

Preference (EB-1) category are current for all countries, with the

exception of India and China. This is significant since it will now

allow certain foreign nationals pursuing a Green Card through the

EB-1 category, who are inside the U.S., to be eligible to now file

an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

(Form I-485) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

(USCIS). Along with the Form I-485 application, the foreign

national may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document

(EAD), as well as an Advance Parole document, which would allow the

foreign national to work and take trips outside of the U.S. while

their Form I-485 application is pending, without the need to

maintain any type of nonimmigrant status. It will also allow

dependent spouses and children (under 21 years of age) of these

foreign nationals, who are inside the U.S., to file a Form I-485

application, as well.

The second document is President Trump's April 22, 2020

Presidential Proclamation suspending entry into the U.S. certain

foreign nationals issued an immigrant visa on or after April 24,

2020.The proclamation suspends entry for a 60-day period and

indicates the suspension may be extended. This proclamation has the

effect of limiting the ability of mostly family-based visa

applicants from being eligible to receive an immigrant visa or use

an immigrant visa to enter the U.S. Even though this proclamation

was issued to address the high unemployment rate in the U.S.,

ironically, if the 60-day period is extended for a longer duration,

and because of how the U.S. visa allocation laws are written, this

suspension may actually result in more foreign nationals becoming

eligible to receive a U.S. Green Card, who are applying inside the

U.S. through an employment-based Green Card category.

Originally published by Lexology on 7 May,

2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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