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U.S. Immigration News

The latest headlines in US immigration law

The field of US immigration law is constantly changing. Whether it's new US immigration regulations coming into effect, changes in procedural or substantive requirements at the US Embassy in London, or US immigration legal issues in the news, you can find a selection of US immigration news here.

December 2021

  • Air travelers to U.S. set to face tougher COVID-19 testing. US travellers may be subject to stricter testing requirements due to concerns over the new coronavirus strain. Currently, US-bound travellers must present a negative test taken in the three days prior to travel but this may change to one day.

November 2021

September 2021

July 2021

May 2021

April 2021

  • What Happened When the U.S. Government Tried to Make the Immigration System Digital. Slate reports on USCIS attempts to digitize the nation's immigration system, concluding "A common mistake people make when trying to improve or modernize something is believing that digital will always be better. But digitizing a broken paper process doesn't make it better. Sometimes it even makes it worse."

  • U.S. Department of State: Consular Affairs. The U.S. Department of State provided FAQs on the immigrant visa backlog, including on what DOS is doing to reduce the backlog, reapplication procedures for individuals who were refused an immigrant visa due to Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983, K visas, diversity visas, employment visas, and more.

  • Update on Presidential Proclamation 10052. Good news for certain US work visa applicants. Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J and L visa holders expired on March 31, 2021.

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

  • UK Travel Information following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Proclamation. Entry is suspended, per Presidential Proclamation, of non-LPR foreign nationals who were present in the People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland within 14 days prior to their arrival at the port of entry in the United States.

  • Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf’s Statement on Presidential Proclamation To Protect the Homeland from Travel-Related Coronavirus Spread. “Protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job of the President of the United States. The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives. I applaud the president for making this tough but necessary decision. While these new travel restrictions will be disruptive to some travelers, this decisive action is needed to protect the American public from further exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus." - Chad F. Wolf

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

  • "USCIS has been denying H-1B petitions at a record rate: 24 percent of first-time H-1B applications were denied through the third quarter of 2019 fiscal year, compared with 6 percent in 2015. In the 2015 fiscal year, only 3 percent of H-1B transfers and extensions like Samir’s were denied. In 2019, 12 percent were. In total, about 50,000 people were denied H-1B visas in the past year." Trump Has Built a Wall of Bureaucracy to Keep Out the Very Immigrants He Says He Wants.

November 2019

October 2019

  • How ICE Picks Its Targets in the Surveillance Age. The New York Times Magazine reports on ICE's quiet embrace of big data, profiling the agency's crackdown on undocumented immigrants in a Pacific Northwest community.

  • Trump: No health insurance, no visa. The newest executive proclamation purports to deny immigrant visas to individuals without US health insurance which can be very difficult to obtain without a social security number. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has launched legal action against the administration.

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

November 2018

October 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

  • US Department of Homeland Security to be led under Trump by general who believes Latin America poses an 'existential' threat to the USA.
  • Beyond the immense personal impact, mass deportation would spell trouble for the housing market, reports the New York Times.
  • Losing experienced court interpreters affects immigrants the most, as reported by the Huffington Post.
  • It seems unbelievable but a fake U.S. Embassy that had been operating for 10 years in Ghana has finally been shut down. Read the full story here.
  • Senators are trying to protect so called 'Dreamers' - undocumented individuals brought to the US as children currently protected under President Obama's DACA programme., reports the Guardian.

November 2016

  • Can immigrants facing deportation be detained for months or even years? The US Supreme Court to hear arguments in a case that could impact the Trump administration's plans. Read the full article here.
  • "This isn’t about Indians and Mexicans, but about the documented and undocumented, and the gulf of privilege that lies between them." The New York Times shines the spotlight on a difficult subject in the article titled 'The privileged immigrant'.
  • Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the American Immigration Law Office! Here's a listing of London restaurants where you too can celebrate the holiday.
  • The man who wants to head the Department of Homeland Security under Trump accidentally exposes immigration plan.
  • 'Sanctuary cities' like Seattle and New York pledge to protect immigrants from Trump's policies, reports the Washington Post.
  • "How will Trump's presidency affect my US visa?" is a question we are often asked these days. While nobody knows what measures will be implemented, here is what we do know.
  • What the field of immigration may look like under Trump, according to the American Immigration Council.
  • What does a Trump presidency mean for US immigrants? Another article weighs in on this important topic.
  • Election day is here, but what are the possible outcomes? The Guardian lays out some possibilities.
  • Musicians such as Keith Richards, Sting and Bruce Springsteen participate in the "We are not afraid" pro-refugee campaign.
  • Yogurt company Chobani, and its Turkish immigrant founder, draw threats after supporting refugees to the USA. Read the full article here.
  • Happy Halloween! Here is how the White House celebrated last evening.

October 2016

  • USCIS immigration filing fees to increase in December 2016. More information is available here.
  • We often publish witty observations Brits make about the USA, and vice versa. This time, an American woman notes all the things she believes the UK does better.
  • All 6 Americans awarded Nobel prizes in 2016 are immigrants to the USA.
  • Some immigrants to the USA are naturalizing as US citizens to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
  • Theresa May has hinted that the UK may adopt a US-style immigration system. Here is what it may look like.
  • Louisiana requires a birth certificate before getting married and immigrants whose birth certificates are unobtainable are being affected. Read more here.
  • Did you miss the second US Presidential Debate? Watch it here!
  • US authorities confirm no immigration enforcement action will be taken in evacuations and sheltering relating to Hurricane Matthew.
  • What did Ellis Island immigrants look like in the early 1900s? A collection of photographs brings this fascinating world to life..

September 2016

  • The first US presidential debate took place last night; here are the highlights.
  • This light hearted piece by an American woman living in London will highlight the things US citizens find peculiar about the UK.
  • London mayor Sadiq Khan joins the mayors of New York and Paris in authoring a New York Times letter in support of refugees ahead of the UN General Assembly gathering.
  • Should US immigration policy be more like Canada's? Read more here.
  • Alert: If you get a call from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, beware! It might be a scam.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection proposes ESTA changes, to include using information collected from publicly available sources such as social media. The full proposal is available here.

August 2016

  • Can you name the American equivalent of these British words? Test your knowledge here.
  • Beware of individuals contacting you to collect USCIS fees by phone or email -- it's a scam.
  • Bernie Sanders asks the Department of Homeland Security to end privately operated immigration detention centres.
  • A fascinating read about high skilled immigration to the USA.
  • The BBC investigates the difficulty of passing the US citizenship test. Read the article here.
  • Small towns from across the USA welcome refugees amidst concerns of population decline, according to PBS.
  • Melania Trump responds to allegations and denies having broken US immigration laws.
  • On August 4th, President Obama celebrated his last birthday as president of the USA. Read "the 44th at 55".
  • What happens in immigration courtrooms located within prisons? The answer is sometimes troubling.
  • Immigrants with STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) keep US companies competitive, say Microsoft and Facebook, according to a new article.

July 2016

  • Michelle Obama gives inspiring speech at the Democratic National Convention. Here are the highlights.
  • President Obama meets Prince George, as captured in this lovely photo.
  • Studies show that immigrants boost the US economy. Here's why.
  • The US Supreme Court to hear detention of non-citizens challenge.
  • U.S. Border control officials will no longer serve as translators, according to new policy.
  • Happy Fourth of July! Read some interesting facts about America's birthday here.

June 2016

  • Is your parent a US citizen (and you are not)? The US Supreme Court is set to examine the different requirements under current US immigration law when a child born outside the USA obtains US citizenship through a mother versus a father.
  • New report concludes that immigrants make a country stronger by complementing the native workforce.
  • Celebrate the Fourth of July in London at the annual American Independence Day Picnic.
  • President Obama urges calmness after Brexit referendum.
  • We are saddened by reports of recent verbal abuse against immigrants. Together, we can join Amnesty International in standing up racism and xenophobia.
  • Your social media posts may have a wider audience than you think. Now US Customs want to ask for your online presence before you enter the country.
  • The US Supreme Court issues a disappointing 4-4 decision upholding the DACA/ DAPA injunction.
  • Orange is the New Black actress Diane Guerrero talks about the hardship US citizen children face when their parents are deported, as hers were when she was only 14.
  • CBP imposes further restrictions for Visa Waiver Program/ ESTA travellers.
  • Victims of the Orlando tragedy who are undocumented immigrants face additional challenges following the shooting.
  • Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando at this tragic time as the US Embassy in London displays the LGBT flag.
  • Donald Trump blames Orlando tragedy on immigration.
  • Hilary Clinton marks the historic moment of becoming the first woman to win the presidential nomination for a major political party.
  • June is Immigrant Heritage Month and more than 50 celebrities, such as Margaret Cho, have joined the campaign at
  • 'Emma', the USCIS virtual assistant, can now answer questions in English and Spanish.

May 2016

  • Increased immigration raids follow Homeland Security's new hotline for reporting suspected US immigration violations.
  • While immigration law is the same across the USA, this article argues that Atlanta is one of the riskiest places to be an undocumented immigrant.
  • Transgender individuals will be housed in new US immigration detention facility, though controversy continues surrounding the project.
  • USCIS faces legal action over alleged unlawful delays of US citizenship applications filed by Muslims.
  • US immigration fees might be going up! Read the proposed USCIS rule here.
  • HIV+ immigrants to the USA face lengthy delays in the immigrant visa process. Read about those struggles here.
  • London's new mayor weighs in on the U.S. Presidential race.
  • More than 79 million people immigrated to the USA from 1820 to 2013. Watch this fascinating map that illustrates countries of origin.
  • Are you a Brit travelling to the USA? Metro highlights the danger in not having the required e-Passport.
  • Even if marijuana is legal in some US states, it is still illegal under federal US law and can land immigrants in great trouble. Read more about this troubling issue here.
  • The bitter-sweet day when an immigration detention facility in Texas opens a day care centre.

April 2016

March 2016

  • If Donald Trump's vision of a US-Mexico border comes to life, families divided between the two countries will be impacted in no small measure, argues The Guardian.
  • More than half of start-ups worth $1 billion or more were started by immigrants to the USA, resulting in invaluable contributions to the US economy, according to NBC News.
  • As Brits and Europeans can holiday in Cuba, the significance of President Obama's visit with Raul Casto can be less than obvious. But bear in mind that a serving US President has not visited Cuba since 1928. See the full video here.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection publishes Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) in light of the recent changes.
  • Foreign students studying science, technology, engineering or maths in the USA can now have up to 2 years' training following graduation. Read more here.
  • The terrible hardship of growing up without a mother after she is deported from the USA. Read her full story here.
  • US citizens cannot be deported from the USA under the law, yet many have mistakenly suffered exactly this fate, according to Vice News.
  • A date has been set for the Supreme Court's hearing on President Obama's executive action on immigration: 18 April 2016.
  • Which passports are best for easy travel to as many countries as possible? Read the world passport ranking, from best to worst.
  • USCIS releases the 2016 poverty guidelines which dictate the income an Affidavit of Support sponsor must show before their relative can immigrate to the USA.
  • Are you a US citizen in the UK? Here's your chance to vote in London in the US Democratic nomination race

February 2016

  • British citizen frequently travelling to the USA? You can now enrol in Global Entry and get into the US quicker!
  • Do US authorities know when someone has left the USA? According to this new report, that is increasingly the case.
  • Visa Waiver Program/ ESTA Updates: New countries have been added to the disqualification list. Travellers to Libya, Somalia, or Yemen after March 2011 can also no longer use the VWP. Read this DHS announcement.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia unexpectedly passed away over the weekend. This NPR article explains what happens next.
  • Happy Valentine's Day on 14 February 2016! While on the topic of love, have you ever wondered who decides whether a UK fiancee or UK spouse can immigrate to the USA? Read this fascinating Independent article about the US Embassy in London.
  • Your Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) questions, including updates on the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, are answered by US Customs and Border Protection in this updated FAQ.

January 2016

  • The USA is concerned about the allegedly high number of forged British passports, endangering visa free travel for UK citizens, according to this Times article.
  • The US Embassy in London has just launched a new website on 27 January 2016. Have a look at the new layout here.
  • If you are a US citizen in the UK, you may wish to act now.US State Department advises US citizens to renew their passports now if they are expiring soon.
  • A look at the fun side of the East Coast blizzard, courtesy of two youngster residents.
  • BREAKING NEWS for the Visa Waiver Program: No more visa free travel for dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria, or those who have travelled to one of those countries on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for military/ diplomatic travel). Read the full details on the US Department of State website.
  • If you are a Brit who has lived in the USA, does this ring true? Read 33 things that all Brits who have lived in America can relate to.
  • The US Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the Obama immigration actions.
  • Changes in immigration enforcement spark a climate of fear, the NPR reports.
  • Former Clinton-era immigration official discusses US immigration changes under the Obama administration. How has Obama changed US immigration policy?
  • Bad news for US citizens who have outstanding tax bills- your passport can be revoked under new powers conferred to the IRS.
  • Struggling to get back into work mode after the Winter holidays? Why not plan your next US trip instead? Here is some inspiration.

December 2015

  • Humans of New York is sharing refugees' touching stories. The reason? "There is so much fear in the world right now. And politicians know that they must win the votes of frightened people." Read refugees' real stories on the HONY website.
  • Donald Trump's immigration proposals are likely unconstitutional, say legal experts.
  • British citizens who have travelled to Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Sudan in the last 5 years may no longer be able to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) after the House passes a bill overhauling the eligibility criteria.

November 2015

  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg-backed group FWD is renewing immigration reform efforts ahead of the 2016 election, according to this Politico article.
  • Ever ordered 'chips' while visiting the United States only to be served crisps? If travelling to the USA, this handy UK- US 'translation' guide may prove useful.
  • The Visa Waiver Program (ESTA application) sees enhanced security measures in light of recent concerns.
  • Big changes are coming in for US citizens who frequently travel internationally as the U.S. Department of State announces it will stop issuing new pages for existing passports that have run out of space.
  • Wouldn't it be nice if you could fill out US immigration forms online and submit them digitally? So far, plans to make this a reality have not gone terribly well. Read this Washington Post article for further details.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg weighs in on immigration, calling plans to deport all undocumented immigrants 'absurd'.

October 2015

  • What do tattoos have to do with US immigration? Read this article to find out.
  • There's still time to apply for the green card lottery, but be careful out there. Unfortunately, the Diversity Visa Lottery attracts many fraudsters, as detailed in this Irish Times article.
  • Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pledges support for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • The plight of Syrian refugees is documented by Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton in an astounding collection of photos and interviews.
  • Congress reauthorises key immigration programs in the nick of time.
  • Online registration for the Diversity Visa Lottery (DV 2017 Programme) is available from 1 October 2015 until 3 November 2015 at noon EST.

September 2015

  • A new study by the Pew Research Center shows how US immigration legal changes in 1965 impacted immigration to the USA and how those immigrants have in turn shaped the United States as a nation.
  • What are the Republican presidential candidates saying about US immigration? Read a summary here.
  • With the refugee crisis taking centre stage, US presidential candidates were asked their views on refugee policy in the USA. Read the Guardian article for full details.
  • Here's why keeping birthright citizenship in the USA is important - the Huffington Post investigates what happens in other countries that have done away with it.
  • Good news for those obtaining immigrant visas at the US Embassy in London or other US Embassies abroad. USCIS has simplified the online immigrant fee payment, according to a recent USCIS alert. The immigrant visa fee can be paid here.

August 2015

  • Adding more countries to the Visa Waiver Program so their citizens can travel to the USA visa-free is gathering political support. Read the full article here.
  • Donald Trump has announced his US immigration plan. It's a bit, shall we say, unconventional.
  • US immigration is at the forefront of the presidential debate, with immigration being the fourth most searched for GOP issue. Read what the Republican candidates said on this important topic during their first televised debate.
  • If you travel to the USA on the Visa Waiver Program (after obtaining ESTA authorisation), you may want to read this New York Times article describing possible toughening of travel requirements.
  • If you are not familiar with it, Humans of New York is an excellent photoblog featuring street photos and interviews. Generally collected in New York, its author also takes trips around the world gathering stories. This time, he's in Pakistan finding out about the unique challenges of being an international student in the USA. Read more here.

July 2015

  • Although some politicians have unfortunately claimed that immigrants bring crime to the USA, an authoritative study by the American Immigration Council clearly shows otherwise.
  • The US educates a large number of foreign-born STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) who are desperately needed by businesses due to insufficient US-born STEM graduates.. Yet, despite employer and employee willingness, the USA will lose foreign talent and revenue absent immigration reform, argues The Hill.
  • The US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Read the full opinion or a variety of interesting articles concerning the case on the Supreme Court blog.

June 2015

  • The US Department of State is experiencing technical difficulties affecting all visa applicants who submitted the DS-160/ DS-260 on or after 9 June 2015. The difficulties are affecting visa adjudication and visa printing capabilities. UPDATE: On 25 June 2015, DOS announced that 39 US Embassies have now been reconnected and that it is actively working to connect the remainder US Embassies this week.
  • Heads are rolling after undercover agents were able to smuggle mock explosives and weapons through US airport security checkpoints, starting with the Transportation Security Administration leader who was reassigned to a different post.
  • For immigrants outside of major US cities, life can be surprisingly lonely, argues The Atlantic in a thought-provoking article entitled "A lonely life for immigrants in America's Rust Belt."
  • According to a recent Business Insider article, ex-pats are sometimes misunderstood by their friends and family 'back home' who may ask questions that are best avoided. If you are an ex-pat living in the UK, do some of these questions ring true?

May 2015

  • US immigration reform plans hit another roadblock after appeals court rules against President Obama. The president's administration sought a ruling allowing immigration reforms to be implemented while litigation regaring those actions plays out; sadly, the court ruled otherwise. Read more here.
  • Are immigrants particularly attracted to countries with British politcal heritage? This New York Times article argues so, indicating that immigrants are attracted to the open exchange of ideas, freedom of moment, and educational opportunities.
  • Some H-4 visa holders now have the right to work in the USA. USCIS released a new FAQ explaining eligibility, the application process, and much more. As of 26 May 2015, USCIS has been accepting employment authorisation applications from eligible H-4 visa holders.
  • Do you ever get nervous approaching Passport Control? If so, you are not alone. Though not US-specific, this New York Times editorial entitled "A very suspicious traveler" lays bare the problem.
  • Hillary Clinton expressed her support for US immigration reform during her first campaign stop in Nevada.
  • A newly released working paper argues that each immigrant to the USA helps create approximately 1.2 jobs which primarily benefit US citizens.

April 2015

  • The New York Times publishes a facinating op-ed urging us to think of undocumented immigrants to the USA as parents, not problems. According to the article, "at least one of every 15 children living in the United States has an unauthorized parent, and nearly all of those children are native-born United States citizens." On a related topic, another article explores the heart-breaking story of teens growing up in the USA without their parents after the parents were deported.
  • President Obama is in the Florida Everglades on Wednesday 22 April 2015 to celebrate Earth Day and speak about climate change.
  • The White House Task Force on New Americans, the federal entity officially entrusted with developing better strategies for integrating immigrants to the USA, has released its first set of recommendations.
  • A record number of H-1B specialty occupation visa applications were filed this year: 233,000 to be precise. Compare this to just over 170,000 last year and almost half (124,000) two years ago.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has now reached the H-1B cap for Fiscal Year 2016, according to this News Release. USCIS will be holding a lottery to randomly select the petitions that will be given further consideration.
  • A new version of Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, is now available. The old version of the form will no longer be accepted by US immigration authorities.

March 2015

  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) warms the public to beware of unqualified US immigration assistance in the US pre-tax season. US taxes are due on 15 April and some unscrupulous tax prepararers offer to also prepare US immigration forms, which they are unqualified to do. Please remember that only US licensed lawyers and accredited representatives can legally provide you with US immigration advice and assistance.
  • A new 12,400 mile motorway from the UK to the USA (via Russia) is apparently being proposed. But would you want to drive that distance?
  • The New York Times published a thought-provoking article entitled "Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant". A brief snippet from the article reads, "Immigrants don’t just increase the supply of labor, though; they simultaneously increase demand for it."
  • Breaking News Alert! US Embassies and Cosulates around the world and the National Visa Center (NVC) are currently experiencing technical difficulties, according to the US Department of State.
  • L-1B Intra-Company Transferree Visa Applications are being denied at a higher rate by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), according to a recent National Foundation for America study. USA Today sumarises the findings here.
  • Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson pens an open letter in the Washington Post in support of President Obama's US immigration reform proposals.

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