OPERATING UNDER COVID-19 & IMPORTANT US IMMIGRATION UPDATES

At Richards and Jurusik, we are committed to providing our clients with the service and support we have become known for. Given the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19, we wanted to assure you that we are taking appropriate actions to maintain a safe and healthy office. If you have an appointment with our office and are sick in any way, or have had contact with anyone with COVID-19, we ask you to reschedule your appointment. All visitors of Richards and Jurusik must: 

  • Wear a mask;
  • Wash/Sanitize their hands upon entry; and 
  • Observe proper social distancing. 

All employees of Richards and Jurusik are following the same guidelines and have been advised to work remotely  if they are sick in any way or have had contact with anyone with COVID-19. Our office is cleaned and disinfected after any visit and weekly to keep our office space clean and healthy. 

We look forward to continuing to provide you with the service we are known for in a healthy and safe office environment.

Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law

Appointments with USCIS

Beginning June 4, 2020, certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices will resume non-emergency face-to-face services to the public. Application support centers will resume services later. USCIS has enacted precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in reopened facilities:

  • Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
    • Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
    • Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
    • Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
  • Visitors may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
  • Members of the public must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. If they do not have one, USCIS may provide one or the visitor will be asked to reschedule their appointment.
  • There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors should pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Individuals may also have to answer health screening questions before entering a facility.
  • Individuals are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens.

Appointment notices will include further instructions for visiting USCIS facilities.

June 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation

Visa Exempt Canadians ARE NOT subject to the Presidential Proclamation. Canadians entering as H1B, L1A, L1B, TN, E1, E2, or J nonimmigrants are exempt from the Presidential Proclamation issued on June 22, 2020.
In addition, individuals from ANY country with Valid Visas Prior to Proclamation’s Effective Date ARE NOT Subject to the Proclamation Regardless of Previous Entry.
Those with valid visas issued prior to the effective date of the Proclamation (June 24, 2020, at 12:01 am (ET)) will be allowed entry after the suspension goes into effect regardless of whether they have come in before or not on that visa.

April 22, 2020 Executive Order

President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive order on U.S. Immigration that takes effect on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET), and suspends the entry of a very limited number of individuals seeking entry to the U.S. as immigrants. Effectively, this order merely delays the processing or certain cases for 60 days from April 23, 2020. If you are currently inside the U.S. on a valid visa or green card, you are NOT impacted. If your case is currently pending with USCIS, you are NOT impacted. Most immigration cases will NOT be impacted by this order. 

This order DOES NOT impact non-immigrant workers including the following:

  • TN visa holders, or those applying for TN visas by mail or at the border, OR
  • L1 visa holders, or those applying for L1 visas by mail or at the border, OR
  • H1B visa holders, or those applying for H1B visas, OR
  • E visa holders, or those applying for E visas, OR
  • Any other non-immigrant worker that currently has a work visa.

 This order DOES NOT impact the following immigrants (Those seeking green cards):

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens, OR
  • Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa, OR
  • Current Lawful permanent residents (LPR), OR 
  • Individuals and their spouses or children seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional to perform work essential to combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees), OR 
  • Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, OR
  • Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees), OR
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children, OR
  • Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification), OR
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).

This order directly IMPACTS the following immigrants (Those seeking green cards):

  • Those outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

U.S. – CANADA BORDER UNDER COVID-19

On May 19, 2020, the United States and Canada announced that all non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada will be temporarily suspended for at least another month.

  • Travel between the U.S. and Canada is NOT advised for non-essential purposes.
  • Travel between the US and Canada for employment purposes is still permitted.
  • Travel through the land ports of entry with the US and Canada shall be limited to “essential travel,” which includes, but is not limited to:
      • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
      • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
      • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
      • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
      • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
      • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada);
      • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
      • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
      • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
  • The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this Notification:
      • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).
      • Essential trade and commerce will continue to allow the supply of goods between the U.S. and Canada.
  • U.S. Citizens, Green Card holders, or those who have a visa in hand can be denied entry to Canada at a land port of entry if the travel is considered to be “non-essential travel.” U.S. citizens can also be barred from entry if they have been in a recent hot spot in the past 14 days or if they show symptoms upon arrival. This measure does not include or apply to Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, or First Nations, including family members. All travelers are required to self-isolate if allowed entry into the country.

TN VISA APPLICATIONS

Although CBP continues to process TN visa applications, it is advised to plan ahead and apply for extensions, renewals, or changes in employment by mail with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). As long as a petition is timely filed before the employee’s current status expires, the employee may lawfully remain in the U.S. and continue employment in the U.S. for up to 240 days while the petition remains pending.

L VISA APPLICATIONS

Although CBP continues to process L visa applications, it is advised to plan ahead and apply for extensions, renewals, or changes in employment by mail with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). As long as a petition is timely filed before the employee’s current status expires, the employee may lawfully remain in the U.S. and continue employment in the U.S. for up to 240 days while the petition remains pending.

U.S. CONSULAR POST CLOSURES

All Consular posts throughout the world have cancelled all nonimmigrant visa appointments until further notice. Applicants who have paid the MRV fee can apply the fee towards a future visa interview appointment scheduled within one year of payment of the MRV fee. Some posts continue to process immigrant visa appointments on a limited basis. Country-specific information regarding COVID-19 can be found at the following website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

The Consulate General in Montreal continues to process immigrant visas but depending on staffing capacity and host government restrictions, may need to reduce routine immigrant visa appointments. Applicants will be notified by the post as quickly as possible should it be necessary to reschedule. Emergency travel appointments are available by following the guidance at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ca/niv/information/faqs#need_earlier_appt

RECEIPT OF STATE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DURING COVID-19

Lawful nonimmigrants affected by COVID-19 who receive STATE unemployment benefits, will NOT be impacted by the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule that went into effect on February 24, 2020, as the public charge ground of inadmissibility only applies to the receipt of FEDERAL public benefits.

Immigration Update Click Here