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Effective Oct. 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that applicants subject to the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.


USCIS is updating their policy guidance in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 17, 2021 update to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons. The update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) and provide proo...

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Starting September 4, 2021, USCIS is extending the time that receipt notices can be used to show evidence of status from 18 months to 24 months for petitioners who properly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. USCIS is making the change from 18 to 24 months to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.


Conditional permanent residents who properly file Form I-751 or Form I-829 will receive a receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card), as evidence of c...

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On August 24, 2021, the Supreme Court refused to block a court ruling ordering the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era policy that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S.


The high court's order, issued on Tuesday evening over the dissent of the court’s three Democratic appointees, rejected the Justice Department’s request for a stay that would have allowed the controversial policy to remain on ice while litigation over President Joe Biden’s effort to rescind it continues.


The court offered little explanation for its action, although it cited its opinion from last year rejecting the Trump administration's effort to end another immigration pro...

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Beginning on August 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is temporarily extending the validity period for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, from two years to now four years due to COVID-19-related delays in processing.


USCIS may consider a completed Form I-693 as valid if:


- The civil surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;


- No more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; and


- A decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 is issued on or before Sept. 30, 2021.


USCIS is making this temporary...

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On August 9, 2021, USCIS announced that applicants filing for lawful permanent resident status are now able to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or replacement card as part of the adjustment of status application process. Previously, these individuals had to apply for a Social Security number at a Social Security office. USCIS is revising Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to include the additional questions needed to apply for an SSN or a replacement card.


After approving Form I-485, in most cases USCIS will electronically transmit the data to the Social Security Administration. Upon receiving the data, the Social Security Administration will a...

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On July 21, 2021, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held that an aggrieved employee whose individual claim was time-barred had standing to pursue a representative claim under the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA) on behalf of other allegedly aggrieved employees regardless of whether the employee was personally aggrieved (Johnson v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.). The Court’s decision was based on its interpretation of the California Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Kim v. Reins, wherein the high court held an aggrieved employee who settled his individual claims nonetheless had standing to maintain a representative PAGA action.


By expanding the sc...

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USCIS is reminding the public that they offer immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. Examples of unforeseen circumstances include, but are not limited to, the wildfires in the western United States and the recent building collapse in Surfside, Florida.


The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:


- Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your contro...

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On July 22, 2021, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issued a new order due to the rapid increase of new COVID-19 cases. This new order modifies the prior health order. The order mainly aligns with the State Public Health Officer Order of June 11, 2021 and continues to place certain safety requirements on individuals consistent with federal and state rules. In addition, the order now requires that all persons wear face masks, regardless of their vaccination status, while in indoor public settings and businesses, with limited exceptions, as a precautionary measure with this level of community transmission.


The order continues some requirements on businesses and government e...

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on July 20, 2021, a new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending.


Under the previous policy, applicants needed to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which required them to file extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status.


To prevent a “gap” in status, USCIS will gra...

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Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC that California employers must pay meal period and rest break premiums at the same “regular rate” that applies to the payment of overtime.


Under California law, when a non-exempt employee is not provided with a fully compliant 30-minute meal period or 10-minute rest break (i.e. it is missed, interrupted, late, or shortened), the employer must pay a one-hour premium for each non-compliant meal period or rest break. Since the California Court of Appeal and federal district courts have held that the meal period and rest break premiums should be calculated at the employee’s base hourly rate, t...

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