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Student and Exchange Visitor Program (“SEVP”) to Mail Notices to Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) Students Without Employer Information

The SEVP has issued a Broadcast Message stating that it is conducting a review of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (“SEVIS”) records for OPT participants and mailing notices to students who have not reported employer information and have exceeded 90 days of unemployment. The notice informs students of their lack of employer/employment information and provides an opportunity for them to update their records either through their Designated School Official or directly through the SEVP Portal.

If the student’s SEVIS record is not updated, SEVP will set the record to “terminated” to reflect the lack of employer information and the potential that the student may have violated their status either by failing to timely report OPT employment or by exceeding the permissible period of unemployment while on OPT.

Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Notice Terminates Arrival Restrictions on Flights Carrying Persons Recently Present in Certain Countries

DHS has issued a Notification terminating arrival restrictions applicable to certain flights. Specifically, the Notification terminates arrival restrictions that are applicable to flights carrying persons who had recently traveled from, or were otherwise present within, the People’s Republic of China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau); the Islamic Republic of Iran; the countries of the Schengen Area; the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe; the Republic of Ireland; or the Federative Republic of Brazil. These arrival restrictions directed such flights to only land at a limited set of U.S. airports where the U.S. Government had focused public health resources to conduct enhanced entry screening. As a result, effective September 14, air travelers from these countries who are permitted to travel to the U.S. despite the COVID-19 travel restrictions are no longer limited to entering the U.S. at one of 15 designated airports.

DHS’ Notification does not end the current COVID-19 travel restrictions in place for those who are not exempt and have been physically present in these countries within 14 days of their attempted entry to the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Extends I-9 Compliance Flexibility in Rules Related to Employment Eligibility Verification (“Form I-9”)

ICE has announced another extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was granted earlier this year. On March 20, 2020, DHS previously announced that, due to precautions implemented by employers and employees associated with COVID-19, DHS would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Form I-9 under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Thereafter, On May 19, June 19, July 18 and again on August 18, 2020, DHS extended this policy for an additional 30 days respectively.

Due to the continued precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has decided to once again extend this policy for an additional 60 days. The expiration date for these accommodations is now November 19, 2020.

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. We remain available to answer your questions.

If you have any questions, please contact Gunster Immigration attorneys Sarah Tobocman, Mariana Ribeiro, Beatriz Osorio, and Maria Romero.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.


About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With nearly 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com.

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