Articles Posted in CBP

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The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department recently announced a new plan to expedite immigration court proceedings for asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the United States without lawful status.

On May 16th senior administration officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department made it known to the public that a new Recent Arrivals (RA) docket process will allow undocumented immigrants to resolve their immigration cases more expeditiously – within a period of 180 days.

Under the RA Docket process, DHS will place certain noncitizen single adults on the RA Docket, and EOIR adjudicators will prioritize the adjudication of these cases.

The RA Docket will operate in five cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Immigration judges will aim to render final decisions within 180 days, although the time to make a decision in any particular case will remain subject to case-specific circumstances and procedural protections, including allowing time for noncitizens to seek representation where needed.

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As the 2024 U.S. presidential elections draw nearer, Biden and Mexico’s President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, have announced joint efforts to combat illegal border crossings.

The two leaders have said that their administrations will take steps to decrease illegal border crossings by ordering their national security teams to cooperate. While specific details were not disclosed, a government official has said that immigration enforcement actions may include a crackdown to prevent railways, buses, and airports from being used for illegal border crossings.

The issue of immigration will likely sway voting age Americans who believe President Biden has not done enough to prevent illegal immigration.

Under intense scrutiny and political pressure, the Biden administration has attempted to appease these voters by getting tougher on immigration. Recently, the Biden administration attempted to include restrictive immigration policies as part of a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Biden called the immigration reform measure the “strongest border security bill this country has ever seen.” If passed, the measure would have given him the authority to turn away migrants at the U.S. Mexico border.

Against political gridlock however, Congress blocked the inclusion of the measure from the bill. This has left the Biden administration to consider the possibility of executive action and internal policy decisions to ramp up its enforcement efforts.

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Without any prior notice, the U.S. government has started requiring immigrants without passports, to submit to facial recognition technology in order to board domestic flights in the United States.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently confirmed this policy change, stating that migrants who do not have the proper photo identification, must submit to facial recognition technology, to verify their identify using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records. Those who refuse to undergo facial recognition are turned away at the airport.

This change came to light after several migrants flying out of Texas were unexpectedly required to submit to the technology.

A spokesperson for the agency further confirmed that if TSA cannot match the person’s identity to DHS records, they will be denied boarding and entry to secure areas of an airport.

This has been alarming news for immigrants who must relocate to areas where they are pursuing their immigration claims, or where they have been scheduled to appear before immigration court.

It has also caused concern for immigrants who were blindsided by the change and spent their hard-earned money on nonrefundable domestic flights.

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Want to know what’s going on in the world of immigration? Then you won’t want to miss these brand-new updates from the U.S. Department of State.


Digital Visa Authorization – New Concept


The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has revealed that the agency is floating the idea of providing a digital visa authorization (DVA) for immigrant and nonimmigrant U.S. visa applicants applying at U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas. The digital visa authorization (DVA) would replace the need for printing traditional U.S. visas inside foreign passports.

The agency will conduct an experimental pilot testing the digital visa concept at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, which will issue limited digital visa authorizations for a small number of K-1 (fiancé(e)) visas as they are single-entry (single use) visas. Such K-1 visas will only be issued to those who plan to travel directly to the United States from Dublin.

If the pilot is successful, the agency may extend digital visa authorizations to other visa classes and additional posts in the future.

The U.S. CBP Document Validation program will digitally notify airlines when a traveler has valid travel credentials, including a DVA.


Why is the pilot being tested in Dublin?


According to the State Department, “U.S. Embassy Dublin is an ideal location to conduct [the] initial DVA proof of concept thanks to our historically strong partnership with the Irish government, the ingenuity of the consular section at [the] embassy there, the presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance procedures at Dublin Airport, and the participation of airlines flying out of Dublin directly to the United States who are already enrolled in CBP’s Document Validation program.”

More information will be provided as the digital visa authorization program is being developed.

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In this blog post, we share with you an important announcement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Carrier Liaison Program.

The agency has announced that certain nationals participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), who have been physically present in Cuba, or who are dual nationals of Cuba and a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program, will be ineligible to gain admission to the United States using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization also known as ESTA.

According to CBP, beginning January 12, 2021, the Department of State designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, causing the above-mentioned individuals to become ineligible for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

Later, on July 6th the Department of Homeland Security updated its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) online application and mobile application to reflect these changes.


Why has this happened?


The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (“the Act”) makes nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who have been present in a country designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST), as well as those who are dual nationals of both a VWP country and a country designated as an State Sponsor of Terrorism at the time of applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), ineligible for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

Since Cuba has been named a State Sponsor of Terrorism, these restrictions will now be enforced against nationals participating in the VWP program who have been present in Cuba or are dual nations of Cuba and a VWP country.

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In this blog post, we alert our readers to a new broadcast message issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provided updated guidance explaining that Consular officers have the authority to issue F or M student visas for up to 365 days in advance of an international student’s program start date.

However, in its broadcast ICE has clarified that this new guidance DOES NOT change the requirement for issuing Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), nor paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee, nor regulations governing admission into the United States.

Despite the advance issuance of an F or M visa, ICE clarifies that students can only enter the United States 30 days before their program start date as listed on their Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

Students who attempt to enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date may be found inadmissible by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

ICE notes to help ensure smooth entry into the United States, students and school officials should confirm the following prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry:

  • Students have an active I-901 SEVIS Fee payment on the Form I-20 that they are traveling under.
  • The name of the school on the Form I-20 matches the name of the school on the visa.
  • Student financial information remains up to date in SEVIS.
  • Students do not attempt to enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of their Program Start Date.

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CBP No Longer Requires Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers from Any Country starting today May 12, 2023 


The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now joins the State Department and Department of Homeland Security in announcing the end of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for international travelers starting today Friday, May 12, 2023.

Noncitizen nonimmigrant air passengers will no longer need to show proof of being fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to board a flight to the United States.

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In this blog post, we share recent guidance released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for supporters and beneficiaries of Uniting for Ukraine and nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, requesting humanitarian parole to the United States.

Individuals participating in these programs must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide financial support for the duration of their parole in the United States. The first step in the process is for the U.S.-based supporter to file a Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, with USCIS for each beneficiary they seek to support, including minor children. The U.S. government will then review the supporter information provided in the Form I-134A to ensure that they are able to financially support the beneficiaries they are agreeing to support.

USCIS has cautioned applicants that they have been receiving many duplicate filings of Form I-134A, as well as multiple inquiries submitted to the USCIS Contact Center regarding these filings.

To avoid any errors and ensure the proper submission of the form, USCIS has provided the following important tips.


Duplicate Filings of Form I-134A


Some potential supporters have been filing multiple Forms I-134A for the same beneficiary. These duplicate filings add to USCIS workload, which delays processing.

The agency encourages applicants to refrain from filing more than one Form I-134A for the same beneficiary because this could delay the processing of the application for the beneficiary you are agreeing to support.

Those who have not received a decision on a Form I-134A they have filed on behalf of a beneficiary, are advised to check their case status through their USCIS online account.

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In this blog post, we share with you some recent updates in the world of immigration.


Suspension of Visa Services in Sudan


Today, April 24, 2023, the Department of State announced suspension of non-immigrant and immigrant visa services in Sudan, due to armed conflict in the country. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum suspended all operations on April 22, 2023, and all personnel have been evacuated under orders of the Department of State.

All Immigrant and Diversity Visa interviews have been cancelled until further notice.  Those with an inquiry about a pending post-interview Immigrant Visa case, are advised to send only one email to KhartoumIV@state.gov.  The inbox will remain unmonitored for a certain period of time, until officials can begin to resume normal or alternative operations.

The mission is unable to conduct passport or document passback for the time being.

Applicants for U.S. nonimmigrant visas are encouraged to apply in any country in which they are physically present and where there are appointments available. As each U.S. Embassy and Consulate has specific application procedures, applicants should contact the U.S. Embassy where they wish to apply directly. Contact information for U.S. Embassies is available at usembassy.gov.


ICE launches online CeBONDS capability to automate bond payments


Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced its implementation of a new web-based system called, Cash Electronic Bonds Online (CeBONDS), which provides a fully automated, online capability to request verification of bond eligibility, make cash immigration bond payments, and send electronic notifications to cash bond obligors. The web-system will benefit detained noncitizens determined by the Immigration Judge or ERO to be suitable for release on bond and enables ICE to send electronic notifications to cash bond obligors.

Individuals will still have the option of making in-person bond payments until the online system fully takes over on June 1st.


CeBONDS Frequently Asked Questions


Who can utilize CeBONDS?


U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, law firms, and non-profit organizations can use CeBONDS to post a delivery bond, voluntary departure bond, or order of supervision bond. Noncitizens can also post a voluntary departure bond or order of supervision bond on their own behalf.

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Welcome to the start of a brand-new week. In a recent announcement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Carrier Liaison Program, revealed that United States visas issued at all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide will now have a new look.

Foreign nationals seeking to visit, work, or remain temporarily in the United States must apply for U.S. visas at foreign consulates or embassies overseas. Once a U.S. visa has been approved following the in-person visa interview, consulates stamp and issue the U.S. visa in the applicant’s foreign passport.

Previously, U.S. visas were printed with the image of Abraham Lincoln, but now U.S. visas will debut a new design.

To ensure the security of documents and protect against counterfeiting, the government has said it will begin issuing new visa foils in the year 2023, replacing the prior image of Abraham Lincoln with the iconic San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. These new visas are referred to as “Bridge” visa foils. Visas with the new “Bridge” foil are expected to be rolled out as early as 2023.

According to CBP’s announcement:

  • The U.S. has begun issuing a new Bridge visa foil
  • This is a redesigned visa foil that will replace the Lincoln visa.
  • As each consular posts depletes Lincoln visa stock, they will begin to issue Bridge visas.
  • All Lincoln visas will remain valid until the printed expiration date, unless revoked or canceled.
  • The Lincoln visas that will gradually be phased out were first issued in 2022.
  • Revisions to visa designs make altering and counterfeiting more difficult, officials state.

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