USCIS updates on over-stayers and ESTA news

Published on: Jun 15, 2018, Last Edited: Jun 15, 2018 | Tags: ESTA Requirements, USA Immigration

Introduction

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS), have just announced in the latest USA visa news, that the Temporary Protected Status, particularly for natives of Honduras although this could be extended to others, must now be re-registered between June 5 and August 6, 2018, by those who want to continue their existing status past the termination date of January 5, 2020. This includes renewing authorization documents regarding employment, however, given the short time frame and the ensuing backlog, the USCIS have automatically extended the date for the employment authorization document, (EAD), by 180 days, to January 1, 2019. We have to wonder why they didn’t make this the cutoff date in the first place to avoid confusion! Some good USA immigration news for existing immigrant workers is that, despite Donald Trumps plans to completely overhaul the USA immigration system, there have, as yet, been no notable changes in the H-1B program. Also, there has been nothing of relevance to change the current H-4 visa policy which allows the spouse and unmarried children, under the age of 21, to join an H-1B worker. 

Possible Changes To OPT Rules

The Optional Practical Training, (OPT), is directly related to the F-1 student visa. Eligible students, once they have either completed their degree or been studying for three or more months, can be permitted, by the USCIS, to obtain a student visa which allows them to work for one year, receiving hands-on training, thereby enhancing their education. Usually, all foreign students are eligible for OPT once they have completed their courses. According to the latest USA visa news, currently all employment based visa program's, including the OPT, are currently being studied, so changes are possible. As the current OPT USA visa stands, foreign students who have obtained degrees, at US institutions, in math (STEM) fields, engineering, technology and certain sciences are automatically entitled to a two year OPT employment authorization period; this is where the possible changes may take place. However, hopefully the value that these graduates bring to the US workplace will overrule any removal of employment status under USA immigration rules as, having educated these young people, it is only right that America should benefit from their talents. 

Consequences of Outstaying Your ESTA Visa in The USA?

The ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is not technically a visa, but a visa-waiver. It allows eligible citizens to remain in the US for a maximum of 90 days and, if a person overstays, it authorizes consequences and penalties, which should not be underestimated. Latest ESTA news states that overstaying is coming under the POTUS scrutiny, as that visitor would be classed as an illegal and, if caught, will be deported. According to ESTA news, this type of visa-waver is easily applied for online and a visitor is allowed a maximum of 180 days during the course of the year, so it is vital to carry documentation at all times to prove the length of stay from each trip. For people who wish to remain longer, but are unable to obtain citizenship, there have been numerous recent half-baked ideas to replace the Green Card, according to USA immigration news. The latest being a Purple Card which would grant permanent legal status to certain illegal immigrants, however, it has been called, “the dumbest and most reckless immigration-related proposal yet”, as, although it takes into account payers of state taxes, it only includes felony's of up to three years - nowhere near long enough. Purple cards would stop the deportation of around 10 million people, without allowing them to become U.S. citizens; it is considered to be a middle-ground solution for people who have established lives in the US for the past 5-25 years. 

Immigration Reform

Congressional Republicans say that they are no closer to reaching a deal on the reformation of immigration rules. With moderates trying to protect around 700,000 undocumented immigrants, otherwise known as Dreamers, the hardliners are anxious to protect and uphold pledges made by Donald Trump. Although there is no sign of any compromise, some are suggesting the best way forward is to legalize people with established lives in the US, followed by strictly enforcing laws covering previous and future conduct; the lawmakers are hopeful of finding a solution before the midterm elections. A growing group of Republicans are trying to force a vote using a system called a discharge petition, which would permit a bill to be brought to the floor once it has gained 218 signatures from members of Congress; if successful, it could well lead to citizenship for many Dreamers. The US visa situation continues to plague the Trump administration and USA immigration news is being constantly changed and updated. Hopefully a fair, more straightforward solution to obtaining a USA visa will be found soon for all nationalities.

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