March 21, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 80


March 20, 2023

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

DHS & DOS Case Processing & Travel Updates

Please note the following immigration benefit case processing and travel updates released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS):

  • Effective March 16th U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) allows ESTA/Visa Waiver Participants (VWP) who were admitted into the U.S. through John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK) or Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ (EWR), and who are unable to depart before their authorized 90-day period of stay ends due to COVID-19, to request “Satisfactory Departure.” Normally U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews these request, however, CBP is authorized to adjudicate Satisfactory Departure requests in an emergency. 
    • Under Satisfactory Departure, a traveler may be granted 30 additional days of authorized stay in the U.S. if there is an emergency situation that prevents departure within the initial 90-day period of authorized stay. As long as a traveler leaves the U.S. within the additional 30-day period for Satisfactory Departure, then he or she will not be considered to have violated U.S. immigration laws by overstaying the initial 90-day authorized period. 
    • At this time eligible ESTA/VWP travelers who have periods of admission expiring within 14 days may apply for Satisfactory Departure by contacting the CBP Deferred Inspections office at the airport. Travelers should be prepared to provide their names, dates of birth, and passport information, and also provide flight itineraries showing original and updated flight information. 
  • Effective March 18th USCIS suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1, its staff will continue to perform duties, and emergency appointments may be provided for limited services through the USCIS Contact Center.
  • Effective March 20th, DHS suspended expedited premium processing for all I-129 non-immigrant visa petitions and for all I-140 immigrant visa petitions until further notice. Petitions already accepted for premium processing may be adjudicated within the 15-calendar day period, although, if no agency action occurs, USCIS will refund the expedited processing fee.  Petitions not yet accepted for premium processing will be rejected and returned, even if they were mailed before March 20th.     
  • Effective March 20th, DOS suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide and will cancel all routine visa appointments. 
  • Effective March 21st, DHS is restricting all non-essential travel across both the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico land borders for a period of 30 days.

Given that this is a rapidly changing situation, please also refer to the following online resources, and be sure to review the “last updated” date:

© 1998-2023 Wiggin and Dana LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 81

About this Author

Najia Khalid Business Immigration lawyer Wiggin Dana

Najia is a business immigration lawyer who has dedicated her career to helping U.S. and international employers hire individuals with specialized skills her clients need to grow and thrive.

An immigrant herself, Najia is Co-chair of Wiggin and Dana’s Immigration and Nationality Law and Compliance Practice Group and was the firm’s first attorney focusing entirely on immigration law. Employers often consult Najia to clarify complex business immigration requirements in a dynamic enforcement environment.

Najia represents a wide range of organizations in their business immigration...

Ashley Moore Immigration Attorney Wiggin and Dana

Ashley Moore is a Business Immigration Associate in Wiggin and Dana’s Labor, Employment and Benefits Department in the New Haven office.

Prior to joining Wiggin and Dana, Ashley worked for a boutique immigration firm in St. Louis, MO, as an associate immigration attorney.  She has experience with advising and counseling clients on immigration benefits and consequences and has worked on a wide range of immigration cases, including family-based immigrant visas, removal of conditions, naturalization, asylum, removal defense, employment-based visas...