ALERT: Recent News from DOS and INS
Department of State: ∙ DOS issued public announcements for Peru, Nepal, and the Philippines alerting U.S. citizens to the general security environment, the continued potential for violence, and the possibility of terrorist activity directed at American interests in the regions. ∙ DOS issued a travel warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza due to deteriorating security situations. DOS urges American citizens currently in these areas to take precautions and has authorized the voluntary departure of American Consulate General dependents in Jerusalem. ∙ DOS Visa Revalidation Unit announced its processing time is currently 6-8 weeks and improving; however, the refusal rate has increased significantly. DOS recommends applications for revalidation be sent via courier service as all U.S. mail sent to Washington must undergo irradiation, adding significantly to delivery times. Immigration and Naturalization Service: ∙ INS recently announced a proposed rule that will eliminate the minimum 30-day admission period for pleasure (B-2) visitors and will reduce the maximum admission period for both business and pleasure (B-1/B-2) visitors from one year to six months. Further, B-1/B-2 visitors will be required to provide more detailed explanations as to the nature and purpose of their visit at the point of entry. An INS Immigration Inspector will then determine “a period of time that is fair and reasonable for the completion of the purpose of the visit.” The proposed rule will not automatically limit B-2 visitors for pleasure to a 30 day admission. ∙ Per INS interim rule, B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visitors for business and/or pleasure are no longer permitted to begin attending school without first obtaining approval of a change of nonimmigrant status request from the INS. The INS interim rule applies to B-1/B-2 visitors entering the U.S. or extending their visitor status after April 12, 2002. It is permissible for B-1/B-2 visitors to change status to F-1 (academic) or M-1 (vocational) students, but only if such intent was declared to the INS upon admission into the U.S. ∙ INS advises that all Petitioners, Applicants and Beneficiaries should list their full middle name on all INS applications/petitions, rather than just the middle initial, to facilitate security screening through various databases at the point of adjudication. Failure to list the full middle name may result in processing delays and requests for additional information. Other News: ∙ President Bush announced a “smart border” initiative which should improve traffic flow while increasing security along the U.S. Border with Mexico. ∙ The U.S. Supreme Court nullified a back-pay award to an undocumented alien. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that an undocumented alien not legally authorized to work is precluded from receiving back pay pursuant to a National Labor Relations Board finding that the alien was illegally laid off due to his union-organizing activities. Should you have any questions concerning the above or any other employment-based immigration matter, please contact one of the authors listed at the top of the page.
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