USCIS Prepares to Resume Services on June 4
May 29th, 2020
USCIS recently announced that it is preparing to reopen and resume non-emergency face-to-face services in some offices on or after June 4, 2020. This follows the agency's decision to suspend routine in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers on March 18, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews scheduled in order to ensure social distancing and reduce waiting room occupancy. USCIS also provided guidelines for entering USCIS facilities. Some of these guidelines include:
- Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility of they:
- Have any symptoms of COVID-19 (there is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick).
- Have been in close contact with anyone known to have COVID-19 over the past 14 days
- Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days
- Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment, or 30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies
- Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors
- Members of the public must wear facial coverings
- Individuals should bring their own black or blue pens
According to USCIS, the information listed on the website can change quickly, so it is important to make sure prior to your appointment that the office is open.
USCIS asylum offices will automatically reschedule asylum interviews that were canceled during the temporary closures. Asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice when USCIS reschedules their interview. Applicants can expect video-facilitated asylum interviews in which applicants sit in one room and the interviewing officer sits in another. Asylum offices will use available technology to ensure that the officer, applicant, interpreter, and representative can effectively and safely participate in the interview.
USCIS will send notices to applicants to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies. The ceremonies may be shorter than usual in order to limit exposure to those present, but all legally required portions of the ceremony will still take place. Attendance is limited to the naturalization candidate and individuals providing assistance to disabled persons.
Interviews and Appointments
USCIS will also send notices to applicants and petitioners with previously scheduled appointments and interviews. Those with appointments should make sure to review the safety guidelines and check the website often for any changes. Those who had other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public. USCIS will limit visitors, and the applicant should arrange to have their interpreter available by phone.
Application Support Centers
USCIS will automatically reschedule any necessary ASC appointments that were canceled. Individuals will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who appear at a date or time other than what USCIS lists in this letter may experience significant processing delays.
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This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.
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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 20052733).