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Immigration News Briefs

Provided by Humera Subhani Email Provided by Humera Subhani
February 2021
Immigration News Briefs

Inbound passengers to show negative Covid test

The CDC is expanding the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Effective January 26, air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from Covid-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

Replacing green card stickers

Starting in January, USCIS will replace the sticker that is currently issued to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to extend the validity of their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (PRC or “Green Card”), with a revised Form I-797, Notice of Action. LPRs file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, when their Green Cards expire or are about to expire. The revised Form I-797 notice will serve as a receipt notice for the Form I-90. When presented together with the Green Card, the revised Form I-797 notice will extend the Green Card’s validity for 12 months from the date on the front of the Green Card and will serve as temporary proof of the LPR’s status. This change ensures that LPRs with a recently expired Green Card will have documentation of identity, employment authorization, and authorization to return to the United States following temporary foreign travel. Form I-90 applicants who have not been issued a notice for a biometrics appointment and are in possession of their Green Card will no longer have to visit an application support center to obtain temporary evidence of LPR status. Applicants who have already been scheduled for a biometrics appointment will not receive a revised notice and will be issued an extension sticker at their biometrics appointment.

Delays in receipt notices and biometrics

USCIS has notified stakeholders that, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, an increase in filings, current postal service volume and other external factors, there are delays of four to six weeks in getting receipt notices after properly filing an application or petition with a USCIS lockbox. These delays will not affect the receipt date of the package. There is also a backlog of Biometrics appointments. USCIS estimates that some 280,000 appointments were cancelled, primarily between March and June, due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASCs). From July to September, ASCs were able to handle less than 50 percent of their normal, pre-Covid capacity. Since late-October, that number has risen to about 65 percent of normal levels. The USCIS is currently scheduling more than 10,000 biometrics appointments per day. While this may sound like a significant number, there still are more than one million foreign nationals waiting for their
respective biometrics appointments to be scheduled.

Visa Bulletin for February 2021 is available on our website. Please go to immigration/

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