On Mar 19 2020 by Maria M. Mihaylova
Client Alert: USCIS Office Closures in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
On March 17, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the temporary closure of its local field and asylum offices as well as its application support centers. The closure will remain in effect until at least April 1, 2020 and is part of the agency’s efforts to protect the public and its employees and limit the spread of Coronavirus.
What does the closure mean?
USCIS will automatically cancel any adjustment and naturalization interviews and ceremonies, as well as biometrics appointments currently scheduled between March 18, 2020 and April 1, 2020. Applicants will be receiving automatic cancellation notices and need not proactively reach out to reschedule their appointments. Once USCIS resumes field office operations, the affected appointments will be automatically rescheduled, and affected applicants will be notified of their new interview, appointment or oath ceremony dates. Unlike regularly scheduled USCIS interviews and ceremonies, Infopass appointments will not be automatically scheduled and must be proactively rescheduled by the respective Infopass appointment holders.
Who is affected?
Individuals who have adjustment or naturalization interviews, naturalization oath ceremonies or biometrics appointments scheduled during the period March 18, 2020 and April 1, 2020. All of those appointments will be automatically rescheduled in an attempt to limit the public’s and USCIS employees’ risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Additionally, individuals who have scheduled Infopass appointments between March 18, 2020 and April 1, 2020 will have to proactively reschedule their appointments through the USCIS Contact Center as those appointments will not be automatically rescheduled but will also not be conducted.
What if I have an emergency situation?
Limited emergency services appear to remain in place to address emergency travel needs. If you have a travel emergency, please check in with your immigration counsel and discuss any travel plans before booking. Make sure you notify your attorneys of the needs for the trip, the length of the trip, and the locations that will be visited to ensure that such visits can be facilitated and you will not be affected by the evolving travel restrictions.
What about appointments scheduled after April 1, 2020?
USCIS will reevaluate its closures closer to April 1, 2020 and will send updates. Additionally, the Service maintains a list of all office closures which will be updated regularly as offices begin to resume normal operations. Our teams are closely monitoring these updates and will be proactively reaching out to affected clients as updates become available. If you have questions and are scheduled for a USCIS appointment after April 1, 2020, please contact your immigration attorney closer to March 31, 2020 to get an up to date breakdown of affected USCIS operations.
How will we know when USCIS offices will reopen?
USCIS will post periodic updates and maintains a list of Field Office closures. As offices begin to reopen, USCIS will send updates to affected parties and will provide publicly-available updates at https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
Has USCIS ceased all operations?
No. At this time, the USCIS Service Centers remain open and cases are being processed. We will continue to file new petitions with USCIS as well as all petitions and applications to meet all deadlines. At this time, USCIS has not modified any deadlines or filing requirements. We will continue to monitor and provide updates.
Please contact your Klasko attorney if you have any questions about this client alert.
The material contained in this article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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