May was a very active month for US Immigration. GLF provided updates via our Google Business Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook handles on numerous US Immigration matters including:
- USCIS suspended biometrics requirement for certain I-539 Applicants starting May 17, 2021
- Applicants may reschedule Biometrics appointments by calling 800-375-5283
- U.S. Citizens allowed to return to United States on expired Passports
We at GLF post regular updates on our Google Business Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook handles. Additionally, we also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of all updates posted on GLF’s various social media handles for May 2021.
USCIS SUSPENDED BIOMETRICS REQUIREMENT FOR CERTAIN I-539 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 17, 2021
Beginning May 17, 2021, USCIS had suspended Biometrics requirement for certain I-539 Applicants for a period of 2 years. The suspension applies to Form I-539 applications in H-4, L-2, E-1, E-2, and E-3 categories, if:
- The application is pending as on May 17, 2021, and had not yet received a Biometric Appointment Notice, and
- All new applications received by USCIS from May 17, 2021, through May 23, 2022.
All scheduled Biometrics appointments would remain valid, and Applicants are expected to attend and provide their fingerprints. Biometric suspension will remain in place for 24 months and ends on May 17, 2023, unless extended or gets completely removed by USCIS.
This is a welcome relief for dependents on H-4 and L-2 status whose EAD issuance was severely delayed as a result of Biometrics. We anticipate that with the suspension of Biometrics, H-4s and L-2s will be adjudicated once again expeditiously, if the associated H-1B and L-1 are filed in Premium (as was the case earlier).
APPLICANTS MAY RESCHEDULE BIOMETRICS APPOINTMENTS BY CALLING 800-375-5283
Biometrics services appointments at Application Support Center (ASCs) may be rescheduled by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. Earlier, Applicants had to submit reschedule requests in writing to an address in Alexandria, VA.
Applicants requesting rescheduling, must show:
- Good cause; and
- Request must be made well before the date and time of their original appointment.
This welcome change simplifies the reschedule process and reduces paperwork burden on Applicants and USCIS.
U.S. CITIZENS ALLOWED TO RETURN TO UNITED STATES ON EXPIRED PASSPORTS
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Department of state (DOS) announced that from May 21, 2021, US citizens would be allowed to return to United States even with an expired passport until December 31, 2021. This would be applicable if,
- The person is currently in abroad and seeking to return to the United States directly or has only a short-term transit through a foreign country on their return to the United States or to a U.S. territory
- The expired passport was originally valid for 10 years (or 5 years if the individual was 15 years of age or under when the passport was issued)
- The expired passport under possession is in an undamaged condition
US Citizens must not use their expired U.S. passport to travel from the United States to any International destination for any duration longer than an airport connection. They are also advised to delay their travel abroad and upon their return to the United States to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within 72 hours of their flight’s departure.
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At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.
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