Immigration Update – October 9, 2023

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INSIDE THIS EDITION

USCIS reminds employers to start using the new Form I-9 before the November 1 deadline – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminded employers of the November 1, 2023 deadline to use the updated Form I-9 with the edition date of 08/01/2023 and the Spanish version.

DOS publishes DV-2025 instructions and list of countries – On October 3, 2023, the Department of State released guidance and eligibility requirements for the Diversity Visa (DV) program for fiscal year 2025 (DV-2025). The online registration period for the DV-2025 Diversity Visa Program closes on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at noon ET.

The DOS reinstates the previous version of the regulation governing the grounds for visa ineligibility in matters of public office – The Department of State announced that its regulations governing public charge grounds for visa ineligibility have been reinstated to the version that was in effect before October 11, 2019.

US to resume direct repatriation of Venezuelans without authorization – The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would “resume direct repatriations of Venezuelan nationals who illegally cross our border and do not establish a legal basis to stay.”

DHS to Expand and Redesignate Cameroon to Temporary Protected Status – The Department of Homeland Security will extend and redesignate Cameroon under Temporary Protected Status for 18 months, beginning December 8, 2023 and ending June 7, 2025.

DOS Announces U.S. Passport Processing Times and Guidance – The State Department announced that U.S. passport processing times fluctuated several times in 2023. As of October 2, 2023, routine applications were processed in eight to 11 weeks and expedited applications in five to seven weeks, not counting the shipping time.

Details:

USCIS reminds employers to start using the new Form I-9 before the November 1 deadline

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminded employers of the November 1, 2023 deadline to use the updated version. Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification with the edition date of 01/08/2023.

USCIS also noted that a revised version Spanish edition of Form I-9 with an edition date of 08/01/2023 is available for use in Puerto Rico only and by other employers as a translation aid.

Details:

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DOS releases DV-2025 instructionsList of countries

On October 3, 2023, the Department of State (DOS) issued guidance and eligibility requirements for the Diversity Visa (DV) Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 (DV-2025). The online registration period for the DV-2025 Diversity Visa Program began on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 and closes on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at noon ET.

For FY 2025, up to 55,000 DV will be available. The electronic entry form for the diversity visa (entry form E-DV or DS-5501) is available online at dvprogram.state.gov. DOS will not accept entries that are incomplete or sent by any other means. There is no fee to register for the DV program, but selected individuals who are required to complete an interview must pay a visa application fee before making their official visa application where a consular officer will determine if they are eligible for the visa. The DOS determines who is selected through a random computer lottery.

With the exception of the United Kingdom and its dependent territories, which are now eligible for the DV-2025 programme, there have been no changes to eligibility from the previous financial year. For DV-2025, natives of the following countries and regions are not eligible because more than 50,000 natives of these countries have immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China ( including born on the mainland and Hong Kong), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Venezuela and Vietnam. Natives of Macau and Taiwan SAR are eligible.

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The DOS reinstates the previous version of the regulation governing the grounds for visa ineligibility in matters of public office

The Department of State (DOS) announced on October 6, 2023, that its regulations governing public charge grounds for visa ineligibility have been reinstated to the version that was in effect before October 11, 2019.

On October 11, 2019, the DOS issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that significantly revised the regulations governing grounds. IFR was enjoined by the District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 29, 2020, the DOS explained. Since then, the agency has used Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) guidelines that were in place before the publication of the IFR.

“The IFR was intended to align with the standards then applied by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine inadmissibility on the grounds of public charge. In 2022, DHS issued a new final rule. As such, the IFR no longer meets the policy objective of consistency with DHS standards. By returning to the regulatory text that was in place prior to the issuance of the IFR, the Department is again more closely aligned with current DHS standards,” DOS explained.

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US to resume direct repatriation of Venezuelans without authorization

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 5, 2023, that it would “resume direct repatriations of Venezuelan nationals who illegally cross our border and do not establish a legal basis to remain.”

DHS said the announcement “follows a decision by Venezuelan authorities to accept the return of Venezuelan nationals, as well as high-level discussions yesterday in Mexico City between the United States, Mexico, Colombia and the Panama where Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, and Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall discussed ongoing coordinated efforts to combat migration irregular in the Western Hemisphere.

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DHS to Expand and Redesignate Cameroon to Temporary Protected Status

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend and redesignate Cameroon to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, beginning December 8, 2023 and ending June 7, 2025.

Current TPS recipients who wish to extend their status until June 7, 2025 must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period, which is scheduled to begin October 10, 2023. Cameroon’s new designation also allows other Cameroonian nationals ( and persons without nationality with their last habitual residence in Cameroon) who have resided continuously in the United States since October 5, 2023, to apply for TPS for the first time during the initial registration period, which is expected to begin on October 10, 2023.

DHS said: “It is important that individuals who are re-registering re-enroll in a timely manner during the registration period and do not wait for their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to expire, as delaying re-enrollment could result in gaps in their work authorization documents.

Details:

  • Extension and Redesignation of Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status by DHS (prior copy).

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DOS Announces U.S. Passport Processing Times and Guidance

The Department of State (DOS) announcement that U.S. passport processing times have fluctuated several times in 2023. As of October 2, 2023, routine applications were processed in eight to 11 weeks and expedited applications in five to seven weeks. Processing times do not include shipping time.

DOS said that between October 2022 and September 2023, DOS issued more than 24 million passport books and cards, the most in U.S. history. The DOS encourages applicants to check the status of their passport application and sign up to receive email updates.

DOS also released the following tips for US passport applicants:

  1. If you are renew your application, submit your most recent passport with your application. Sign and date Form DS-82.
  2. Complete all sections of your form, including entering your correct Social Security number. Don’t leave anything blank. If you are applying for the first time or with your child under 16, wait to sign the form until you are invited to do so. If you are renewing by mail, sign and date the form yourself.
  3. Closely follow the photo ID requirements.
  4. Provide proof of US citizenship.
  5. If your current name is not the same as the name on your most recent passport, attach your name change document (such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order).

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