U.S. Immigration Updates– Week of February 13, 2023

Department of State Plans Visa Renewal Program for H and L Workers

According to reports, the Department of State (DOS) plans to launch a pilot program later this year to allow visa renewals in the United States for H and L nonimmigrant workers who currently must leave the country to renew their visas at consular offices abroad. The program could expand eventually. Practitioners say such a policy, which was in place until 2004, would help to relieve backlogs and lengthy wait times abroad, and reduce the burden on consular offices and visa holders. The program is expected to benefit tens of thousands of foreign tech professionals in the United States on H-1B visas, among others.

The timeframe for the pilot program remains unclear. It appears that new regulations would not be required, but a new consular division in Washington, DC, would be needed. “That’s not a small endeavor,” said Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

SOURCE: ABIL Immigration Insider, February 12, 2023; and https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/state-department-plans-pilot-for-domestic-visa-renewal-this-year


USCIS Issues Documentation Reminder for Permanent Residence and Adjustment Applications

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a reminder to applicants on February 10, 2023, to file all required initial evidence and supporting documentation listed under the Checklist of Required Initial Evidence heading when they file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. “Submitting all required initial evidence and supporting documentation at the same time [as] you file Form I-485 may eliminate the need for us to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to obtain additional evidence and documentation. This may also help avoid adjudication delays if we decide that you do not need to be interviewed,” USCIS said.

In particular, USCIS emphasized submitting Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, when filing Form I-485. “We generally consider a completed Form I-693 to remain valid for two years after the date the civil surgeon signed Form I-693. Additionally, from Dec. 9, 2021, until March 31, 2023, we are temporarily waiving the requirement that the civil surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before you file your Form I-485,” the agency said.

USCIS published a new edition of Form I-485 (edition date 12/23/22) on December 23, 2022. Earlier versions will be rejected.

SOURCE: ABIL Immigration Insider, February 12, 2023; and https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/reminder-to-submit-all-required-initial-evidence-and-supporting-documentation-including-form-i-693

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