On August 31, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published its proposal for the International Entrepreneur Rule. If this rule is adopted, qualifying entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their start-up entities will provide a significant public benefit to the United States will be eligible for parole under the new PE-1 category. In order for an entrepreneur to qualify for a possible two-year parole, he or she must possess at least a fifteen percent ownership interest in the start-up while also having a central and active role in its growth and operation. The start-up itself must have either: received grants or awards of at least $100,000 from Federal, State, or local government entities; received at least $345,000 from investors; or received some funding from either source and have the ability to present evidence that the start-up will provide a significant public benefit. As long as the start-up continues to provide a significant public benefit, the entrepreneur can extend his or her parole for an additional three years. For more information on this draft policy please see our recent memo.
As of August 1, 2016, Civil Surgeons performing immigration medicals are required to test applicants aged 15 and older (and patients younger than 15 that have a history of gonorrhea or reason to suspect an infection) for gonorrhea as part of the standard medical evaluation. Active infections are a class A condition (that would require a medical waiver to adjust status) that will be reclassified as class B after successful treatment (generally does not require a medical waiver to adjust status). As the form has yet to be updated to include space for this information, we advise Civil Surgeons should write their findings in the remarks section.
While most Civil Surgeons are up-to-date with these regulations, it is a new requirement that can be missed. We have also had instances of civil surgeons accidentally forgetting to check a box or not properly noting the vaccine history. For these reasons, we strongly suggest asking for a copy of the completed medical exam before it is sealed for USCIS.
On Friday, September 9, 2016, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) proposed the American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 5992), which includes a provision that would re-authorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The bill would provide an additional five year authorization of the program, so it would be extended until September 30, 2021. The most noteworthy change is a raise in the minimum investment for targeted areas from $500,000 to $800,000 and the minimum investment for non-targeted areas from $1 million to $1.2 million. The bill is scheduled to be heard before the House Judicial Committee soon.
With the start of the new fiscal year beginning October 1, 2016, several backlogged categories will become current, including: EB-2, Philippines; EB-1 and EB-4, India; EB-1, China; and EB-2 for Mexico and areas of other chargeability. We will also see significant progression in priority dates for EB-2 and EB-3, China, moving up to March 1, 2013 and May 1, 2014, respectively. EB-2, India and EB-3, Philippines will also see some movement, with priority dates of April 22, 2009 and September 1, 2013, respectively.
Earlier this year, USCIS suggested it was considering allowing employment-based applicants to use the “Dates for Filing” starting in October of 2016—however, it is yet to be confirmed whether or not it will do so. October Visa Bulletin
While it is always a good idea to maintain good records of all immigration-related documents, it is becoming more important to now travel with a copy of your approval documents. Recently several firm clients have reported Customs and Border Protection officers have taken original approval documents – this includes an endorsed I-129S for Blanket L-1s or an I-797 for USCIS approval. Although these status documents should not be taken by CBP as they are original documents, if you travel with a copy of your original documents you should offer those instead to any CBP who wants to keep a document.
We continue to see an amazing amount of I-94 errors among all clients. Please check the details of your electronic I-94 after every U.S. entry. You can check your I-94 online by visiting online here. If there is an error, we ask that you notify your point of contact at our office, and we will initially work with CBP over the phone to correct the error; however, it may be necessary for you to visit a deferred action location near you. To avoid having to go through this, we recommend that you be proactive upon every entry to the U.S. by showing your appropriate documentation to the CBP officer. If you are unsure of what documentation you need, please do not hesitate to contact the BIL team member responsible for your case before your travel.
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **