Jun 14, 2021 Immigration Law

Certain Employment Authorization Cards to be Issued with a Two-Year Validity Period


Certain Employment Authorization Cards to be Issued with a Two-Year Validity Period

The US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will extend the validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for green card applicants from one year to two years. Both initial and renewal EADs for eligible green card applicants will now be valid for two years from the date of issuance, with the aim of reducing processing delays for both EAD and green card applications.

DOS Expands Eligibility Criteria for National Interest Exceptions

The Department of State (DOS) has updated the eligibility criteria for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs, or travel ban waivers) for travelers returning to the US from Europe, South Africa, China, Brazil, India or Iran. NIE applicants can now qualify for a waiver by showing that they are traveling to the US to provide “vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the US.” While this language opens up new avenues for NIE applicants who do not have other humanitarian, medical or business emergencies in the US, it is too soon to say whether this criteria will significantly expand the pool of NIE recipients.

If you are traveling to a country that is subject to a travel ban, please contact us before departing the US to discuss your travel plans.

Country-Specific Travel Bans Remain in Place

As summer travel plans are finalized, we would like to remind international travelers that all country-specific travel bans remain in effect for the time being. Travelers who have been physically present in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Schengen countries, China, Brazil, South Africa, India or Iran during the 14 days preceding their travel will not be permitted to travel directly to the United States. Instead, they must either qualify for a National Interest Exception as determined by a US consulate or embassy, or spend at least 14 days in a non-banned country before returning to the US. The travel bans do not apply to certain exempt categories of travelers, including US citizens and permanent residents, their spouses and minor children, and US military personnel and their spouses and children.

If you are planning international travel this summer please contact us before your trip.

US Citizens Abroad May Be Able to Return with Expired Passports Through December 31, 2021

The Department of State has announced a new policy permitting some US citizens to return to the United States with expired passports through December 31, 2021. To qualify, the traveler must be:

  • 1) a US citizen;
  • 2) currently abroad and seeking to return directly to the US, with only short-term transit through other countries;
  • 3) in possession of an undamaged, unaltered passport that expired on or after January 1, 2020. 

The expired passport must have been valid for 10 years (or 5 years, if issued before the passport-holder was 16 years old).

If you believe you are eligible to make use of this policy and have questions about how to do so, please contact us.