Published: May 07, 2021, Updated: May 07, 2021
Following a proclamation from the White House on April 30th, 2021, people traveling from India on nonimmigrant visas will be unable to enter the United States from May 4th, 2021. The ban will not apply to those with a valid visa who have not been present in India for more than fourteen days before traveling to the US.
US citizens and US permanent residents are also exempt from the travel ban. However, others may still travel to the US from India on nonimmigrant visas (i.e., E, H, L, and O visa categories) as long as they come under one of the following definitions:
The new travel ban suspending direct entry from India means that the country joins an already large group of countries already subject to travel bans. This group currently includes the UK, Ireland, the Schengen area, China, South Africa, Brazil, and Iran.
USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) has announced that a 2004 policy regarding H-1B and L-1 petitions deferring to previous decisions on the eligibility of visa extension requests will be reinstated.
Before 2017, when an employer submitted a request for the extension of work authorization, the 2004 guidelines gave deference to petitions that had previously been approved. This rule applied unless there was an error or change in circumstances that required the H-1B visa extension to be adjudicated.
But in 2017, President Trump ended the deference guidance, and the new rules demanded that all petitions be considered as if they were new applications. The result was an increased workload for the agency that caused a significant backlog of adjudications.
The latest policy change accords with the Biden administrations’ aim to restore faith in the legal immigration system and promote fair and efficient adjudication of benefits for immigrants.
This week, President Joe Biden announced that the cap on refugee admissions would be raised to 62,500, more than four times the cap during President Trump’s term in office. The former cap had been just 15,000, an historically low figure that President Biden said failed to reflect American values as a country that supports and welcomes refugees.
The previous month, the Biden administration had been criticized when it was announced that the refugee cap would remain the same at 15,000. This lower figure reversed a promise made during Biden’s electoral campaign when he pledged to allow more refugees to enter the United States this year. The president also stated that sadly, the target of 62,500 is unlikely to be met in the coming fiscal year, blaming the anti-immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.
However, he is planning to raise the refugee cap further to 125,00 during the next fiscal year. He also promised to use every means available to assist refugees fleeing war, poverty, and violence in their home countries.