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President Biden Issues Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019

On April 30, 2021, President Biden signed a Proclamation suspending the entry of certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, which went into effect at 12:01 AM EDT today, May 4. U.S. citizens, and lawful permanent residents (LPR) are not subject to the proclamation. Additional exceptions include, but are not limited to: foreign diplomats traveling to the United States on A or G visas and certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents including spouses, minor children, parents (provided that his/her U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child is unmarried and under the age of 21), and siblings (provided that both the sibling and the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are unmarried and under the age of 21). 

The Department of State continues to grant National Interest Exceptions for certain category of individuals including qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security. If circumstances warrant, the Secretary of State may revise the national interest determinations at any time.

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Deference to Previous Decisions

USCIS recently released an update providing that USCIS is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual instructing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change, or new material facts.

With this update, USCIS is reverting in substance to prior long-standing guidance issued in 2004, which directed officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application. In 2017, USCIS rescinded the 2004 guidance.

This update is in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. The executive order directs the secretary of homeland security to identify barriers that impede access to immigration benefits and fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits. Per USCIS, affording deference to prior approvals involving the same parties promotes efficient and fair adjudication of immigration benefits. Companies and individuals with ongoing or prospective immigration processes and their employees, colleagues or family members who may be affected by these recent immigration developments should consult with counsel on individual situations. Gunster’s Immigration Practice Group remains available to answer your questions.

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