Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Sens. Perdue and Durbin make the case for the Healthcare Worker Resilience Act on the floor of the Senate. 

CLICK HERE (Scroll to 1:36)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


In recently issued H-1B approval notices the USCIS has approved the H-1B for less than the requested 3 years. The USCIS has explained the H-1B was issued for less than 3 years because the employee’s professional license expired before the end of the 3 year H-1B term.

The USCIS is mistakenly interpreting a clause of the code of federal regulations to state that an H-1B approval notice can be shortened to the validity period of an employee’s permanent professional license, when the law clearly states the H-1B can only be shortened to the term of a temporary license.

It is crucial that employees closely monitor the expiration date of their professional licenses, along with other documentation required for the H-1B filing, and timely renew all documents. This includes the professional license, passport, and Visa Screen (FCCPT certificate or CGFNS Visa Screen).

States vary in their procedures for renewing professional licenses and the validity term of the professional license. In addition, the length of time a passport is issued for varies by country. Visa Screens are valid for 5 years from the date of issuance and can take several months to renew. All foreign nationals should closely monitor the expiration dates of their documents.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


The Manila Post continues to refuse to issue immigrant visas to nurses as has been the case since before the pandemic.   The Post issues 221g letters or outright denials.  

We had been given some assurance in the spring that the problem was solved but it has not.

We are trying to get Congressional action and agency action with the aim of solving the problem.  Unfortunately, it may take some time because we have to reengage our prior contacts. 

If you have been issued a 221g or a denial and would like to be involved please contact your I-140 petitioner.  The I-140 petitioner (US employer) can then contact Chris Musillo who is helping coordinate the effort.  We must have the US employer involved. 

Monday, July 20, 2020


The Department of State has just issued the August 2020 Visa Bulletin. This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2020. This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

August 2020 Visa Bulletin

Table A: Final Action Dates -- Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.

All Other

MU Law Analysis

This Visa Bulletin continued the big progressions that we saw in the June and July Visa Bulletins.  MU Law has been calling on the DOS to rapidly advance the dates so that all immigrant visas are used in 2020, and they finally responded in a big way.  The big story is the one-year progression Worldwide EB-3 and Philippines EB-3.  These EB-3 dates are now at April 2019.

The good news was not limited to those categories.  India EB-1 and India EB-3 also jumped forward.  EB-1 moved ahead ten months to February 2018, and EB-3 by five months, to October 2009.  Only India EB-2 disappointed, staying at July 8, 2009.  India EB-2 and EB-3 are inverted.  MU Law expects India EB-2 and EB-3 to move in sync for the foreseeable future.  EB-2s will downgrade their petitions to EB-3 to take advantage of the more favorable processing date, leading to an equilibrium between the two categories. 

All of the China categories moved forward as well, as expected in a year where few immigrant visa have been issued. 

MU Law expects the favorable employment-based visa dates to continue next fiscal year.  We explained why on this blog post.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


The Trump administration is rescinding its new guidance blocking international students from staying in the United States while taking only online classes.

The U.S. District Court Judge announced July 14, 2020 that the government and plaintiffs had reached a resolution in a lawsuit brought by Harvard University and MIT.

The Trump Administration will rescind its July 6 rule that said foreign students on F-1 visas would need to take at least some in-person courses in order to legally remain in the U.S. for the fall 2020 semester.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had sued the Trump Administration over the guidance.  The Trump Administration received heavy criticism from both colleges and universities as well as members of Congress for the policy.  Late last week 99 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Customs Enforcement urging the agencies to withdraw the new guidance.


On July 6, 2020, ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), announced that for the Fall 2020 semester, it would prohibit F-1 students from attending fully online schools or programs and taking a full online course load in the United States. Students attending fully online schools or programs may only do so from outside the U.S., but can remain Active in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

If a student is outside the U.S., he or she may not enter the U.S. on F-1 status if the student’s school or program is operating entirely online. This applies even if a student has already obtained a Form I-20 for the Fall 2020 semester.

A student may study in the U.S. if they transfer to a school that consists entirely of in-person classes or a hybrid model (combination of both in-person and online classes). However, the student must depart the U.S. or transfer again if the school changes to a fully online model at any point during the Fall 2020 semester. If students are not in compliance with the new guidance, deportation proceedings may be initiated against them.

By August 4, 2020, designated school officials (DSOs) must update and reissue ALL Form I-20s that have been issued for the Fall 2020 Semester to certify the school meets the requirements of the new guidance.

DHS will publish this rule shortly which could clarify some of the situations faced by students that are not addressed in ICE’s press release. In particular, the current guidance does not address the effect of the new guidance on students employed on Optional Practical Training (OPT).  On July 8, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit against DHS and ICE seeking a temporary restraining order of the new guidance, and on July 9, 99 members of Congress sent a letter to DHS and ICE urging the agencies to withdraw the new guidance.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation stop the issuance of H-1B, L-1, J-1, and H-2B and dependent visa stamps at Embassies until December 31, 2020.  For a detailed analysis of the visa of the Proclamation and the visa classifications impacted, please review our previous blog post.

On our June 30, 2020 webinar we reviewed several situations in which visa holders may now find themselves due to the Proclamation.  Below is an FAQ to help employers and employees navigate travel and visa issues under the Proclamation.

Q: My employee is in the US on an H-1B right now.  The employee does not have a valid visa stamp in her passport.  Can the employee leave the US?

A: NO – H-1B workers who are in the US and do not have a valid visa stamp should not travel outside the US.  Without a valid visa stamp, the worker will not be allowed back into the US.

Q: I have a valid visa stamp in my passport.  Can I travel overseas?

A: YES – Those who are in the US and have a valid visa stamp can travel abroad, provided they return to the US before the expiration of their visa stamp.

Q: My employee is overseas and had an appointment at the Embassy to get a visa stamp in July 2020.  Will my employee be able to return to the US?

A: NO – Visa stamps in the effected categories will not be issued until after January 1, 2021, or perhaps later.

Q: My employee’s spouse and child are outside the US for their regular summer visit to their home country.  The spoues and child were able to visit the Embassy in May and obtain new visa stamps.  Will my employee’s spouse and child be able to return to the US?

A: YES - The spouse and child can enter the US if they have valid visa stamps in their passports.

Q: My employee is abroad right now and does not have a valid H-1B visa stamp in his passport.  However, he does have a valid B1/B2 tourist visa stamp in his passport, can he travel to the US on his B1/B2 stamp?

A: MAYBE - but this is not recommended.  The employee cannot work in tourist status so a change of status to H-1B would have to be filed once the employee enters the US.  The employee cannot return to work until this change of status is approved by the USCIS.

Q: My employee currently holds a green card.  She is outside the US and plans to return in July 2020.  Can she return on her green card?

A: YES – the April Proclamation exempts US Legal Permanent Residents from the ban.

Q: My company has filed a green card case for our future employee who is a nurse.  We are a staffing company and do not yet know at which of our client sites the nurse will be assigned to work.  Can the nurse enter the US?

A: MAYBE – Under current interpretation, the nurse may enter the US on a green card for any reason.  Later this summer, the Trump Administration may narrow the ban and require nurses to be treating patients who are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

Q: My employee is currently in the US working for my company on OPT as an F-1 student.  My company has filed an H-1B for this employee which was selected in the H-1B lottery and is currently in process with the USCIS.  Will the H-1B be impacted by the ban?

A: NO – because this is a change of status from F-1 to H-1B, the employee will not be impacted.  However, the employee should not travel outside the US, as he will not be able to get an H-1B visa stamp and return.

Q: My employee is in the US on an H-1B and has no plans to travel.  Can I sponsor this employee for a green card?

A: YES – the there is no prohibition against filing green card cases from inside the US.  Employees can still “adjust status.”

Q: My employee holds an H-1B that will expire later this year.  Can I file an extension of the employee’s H-1B status?

A: YES – the there is no prohibition against filing for an extension, amendment, or transfer of an H-1B.