Major Immigration Updates

May 2021

USDOS Provides Clarification on NIE for China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, India effective 08/01/2021; applies to travel on F-1 OPT/STEM OPT Extension
May 13, 2021

On May 13, 2021, U.S. Department of State posted an update to its posting on April 26, 2021 eligibility for National Interest Exemption (NIE) to the 14-day travel restriction to the U.S. for certain travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland (including F students and certain J exchange visitor […]

Suspension of U.S. Consular Services in Russia
May 4, 2021

The U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia website indicates that routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services have been suspended. No date is given regarding the possible resumption of services. This follows a previous announcement that, effective May 12, 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow would reduce consular services including non-immigrant (F-1, J-1, H-1B) visa processing and many U.S. citizen […]

USDOS Provides Updated Guidance on National Interest Exemptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and India
May 1, 2021

On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of State announced that certain individuals (including those in F and M student visa status and certain J exchange visitor categories) traveling to the U.S. from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland may be eligible for a “National Interest Exemption” (NIE) […]

Executive Order Imposing COVID-19 Travel Restrictions to U.S. adds India
May 1, 2021

On April 30, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation/Executive Order adding India to the list of countries subject to COVID-19 travel restrictions for entry to the U.S. within 14 days of being physically present in India. This Executive Order restricts/suspends entry to the U.S. for “noncitizens of the United States who were physically present within […]

April 2021

Limits to U.S. Visa Services in India
April 28, 2021

On April 27, 2021 the U.S. Department of State announced that all in-person and interview-waiver visa appointments are cancelled at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and the Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata until May 15, 2021 due to COVID-19. The U.S. Consulate in Mumbai is only providing emergency services to U.S. citizens and emergency visa […]

USICE/SEVP Issues Enrollment Guidance for Academic Year 2021-2022
April 26, 2021

On April 26, 2021, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that their international student enrollment guidance will remain the same for the 2021-2022 academic year.  As stated in the announcement, the guidance over the past year (issued in March 2020) will remain in effect for the […]

U.S.-Canada-Mexico “Non-Essential” Travel Restrictions Extended to 05/21/2021
April 22, 2021

UPDATED 04/22/2021: USCBP has posted to the Federal Register that the Non-Essential travel restriction at land ports of entry between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico has been extended for an additional period (to May 21, 2021). This travel restriction has been in place since March 21, 2020. A copy of the Federal Register Notice on […]

USCIS Announces I-765 Applications for F-1 OPT, STEM OPT Can Be Filed Online; Awaiting Clarifications on Photo Procedures
April 14, 2021

On April 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that F-1 students applying for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM OPT), using Form I-765, can be filed online.  Applications can also continue to be filed by mail.   The option of filing online is only available to F-1 students […]

U.S. State Department Issues Visa Services Update
April 8, 2021

On April 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued and announcement and FAQ to provide an update on the status of visa services at U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad that have been impacted by COVID-19 as they move towards a return to full staffing and offering full visa services.  The summary indicates the prioritization of immigrant […]

March 2021

U.S.-Canada-Mexico “Non-Essential” Travel Restrictions Extended to 04/21/2021
March 20, 2021

UPDATED 03/19/2021: USCBP has posted to the Federal Register that the Non-Essential travel restriction at land ports of entry between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico has been extended for an additional period (to April 21, 2021). This travel restriction has been in place since March 21, 2020. A copy of the Federal Register Notice on […]