Updates in Visa Bulletin May Affect H-1B Extensions Beyond Six-Year Maximum

The U.S. Department of State’s June 2022 Visa Bulletin reflects a significant advancement in the EB-2 India category. This has provided an opportunity for many applicants for permanent residence to move forward with the filing, adjudication, and approval of their I-485, Application[s] to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, the final step in the green card process. While a positive development for many, this forward movement has also created a challenge for certain H-1B extensions.

DHS Grants Temporary Protected Status to Afghan Nationals

On March 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghan nationals for eighteen months. Under the designation, TPS will apply to nationals of Afghanistan who have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022. The TPS designation is based on the ongoing armed conflict by the Taliban and the “extraordinary and temporary conditions” in Afghanistan that prevent Afghan nationals from returning safely.

DHS Grants Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainian Nationals

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian nationals for eighteen months. TPS status will apply to nationals of Ukraine who have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. According to DHS, this designation is based on “the extraordinary and temporary conditions” in Ukraine that “result from the full-scale Russian military invasion” that prevent Ukrainian nationals from returning safely.

DHS Updates COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines for Travelers to the United States

On January 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security updated its travel advisory to require all foreign national travelers (except U.S. permanent residents) to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination when seeking entry to the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals. The new guidance expands upon already existing COVID-19 travel requirements and establishes similar COVID-19 vaccination requirements for non-U.S. travelers seeking entry to the United States by both air and land.

USCIS to Expand Premium Processing Program, Increase Fee Rates

On October 1, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law a stopgap spending measure to fund the U.S. government through December 11, 2020. The spending measure includes a provision titled “Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act,” which authorizes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expand the premium processing program and to increase program fees.