The DOS announced that beginning today Embassies and Consulates may begin phased in resumption of routine visa services depending upon local conditions. The DOS does not plan to provide a centralized plan or information source but people should visit the website of each specific post to find out more information on visa services.
Presidential Proclamation 10052 – Suspension of Entry of Certain Nonimmigrants
The DOS confirmed that the proclamation does NOT apply to foreign nationals in the U.S. on June 24, 2020, the effective date of the proclamation. However, we are still advising clients to avoid international travel if at all possible given the lack of detailed announcements from DOS or DHS on the standards and implementation of the proclamation. N.B. Even if a foreign national in the US on June 24 travels abroad and is able to obtain an H, L, or J visa, CBP under the authority of DHS could still deny entry to the foreign national. Getting a visa does not guarantee entry! There have been reports of some visas issued under the national interest exemption for the provisions on public health related to COVID 19.
Policy Change regarding remote learning for F1 and M1 Students
I’m sure many heard ICE announced in early July that beginning in the fall semester, F1 and M1 students must attend some in-person classes in order to preserve their status. In response, several institutions sued ICE, including Harvard and MIT. On Monday it was reported that moments before the first status conference on the litigation, ICE told the court that it had reached an agreement to withdraw the policy and allow students enrolled full-time but taking instruction remotely to maintain status. Today ICE published a new set of FAQs that does not make any reference to this issue. AILA believes the omission constitutes an acknowledgment that ICE has changed its position.
USCIS Budget Shortfall
USCIS is facing a large budget shortfall and plans to furlough 2/3 of its workforce on August 3 if it doesn’t receive more funding. We urge you to contact Congress and request emergency funding for USCIS.