The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Written by Daliah Sklar 

This Global health crisis has created changes within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in regards to its rules, requirements, and availability. Individuals in their immigration process, renewals or extensions have been the most impacted. DRSI LAW offices have expert US immigration attorneys that can help individuals maneuver these changes.

USCIS- Current Lawsuits

To protect the USCIS staff, Immigration, due to the pandemic, ASC offices have closed, appointments have been canceled and Naturalization ceremonies rescheduled. The necessary steps for social distancing were needed to be taken by the US Government and the Courts houses. However, unlike the United Kingdom and other countries around the world, the US has decided to continue with its filling policies instead of placing a temporary halt on all submissions. 

This means that thousands of applicants are finding themselves out of status today and with no opportunity to leave the country, they may be entering into an overstay situation. 

Therefore, Immigration attorneys have taken it upon themselves to sue the USCIS for placing undo danger on their clients during COVID-19. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has filed this lawsuit to demand an immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and to maintain the status for individuals on non-immigrant visas. 

The US courts must rule that the current situation is one of the extraordinary circumstances, beyond the control of U.S. employers and foreign nationals looking for immigration benefits. An order should be given to USCIS to push deadlines and the expiration dates for any individual’s lawful status, including the expiration dates or renewal requirements. 

The DRSI TEAM can help you fill-out and file all the required documents for any new request, extension or renewal in a timely manner that can assist you in avoiding any issues  with USCIS at this time. 

USCIS Highlights- Important Changes 

This is due to  the USCIS temporarily suspending routine in-person services on March 18th. Emails regarding interviews that require rescheduling were sent informing clients that new dates will only be available from March 4th unless a further extension of closure will be necessary.

REQUEST to USCIS – Extensions –  

March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020

USCIS has also expanded its flexibility for responding to USCIS requests. They have  allowed extensions for Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, certain Notices of Intent to Revoke, Notices of Intent to Terminate and appealable decisions within AAO jurisdiction. They will extend the issuance date from the request, notice or decision between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, inclusive to 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.

Therefore, DRSI TEAM can review your case and assist you in filling your response to USCIS within the time period provided and offer a smooth and timely process to ensure a successful approval. 

EAD – Employment Authorization Extensions I-765

DRSI TEAM continues to assist in filling out the I-765 forms as well as gathering the required documents for the processing of Employment Authorization Extension Requests otherwise known as EAD for the USCIS. 

Since COVID-19 turned into a Global health crisis, USCIS has decided to continue processing EXTENSION applications for EAD’s even though the application support center is closed. They will reuse previously submitted biometrics to process valid I-765 forms, application for Employment Authorization and  extension requests. USCIS has the authority to reuse previously submitted biometrics. Using previously submitted biometrics will remain in effect until ASCs are open for appointments to the public.


Option to speed up submissions and receive a response within 15 days

Though USCIS has temporarily suspended Premium Processing for all I-129 temporary Work visa Petitions and I-140 Permanent Work visa Petitions, during this outbreak as of March 20, 2020, DRSI TEAM can still assist in filling applications and submitting them as quickly as possible for timely processing. It is to note that those who meet the expedited criteria exceptions can continue to request it. Expedited Criteria for I-907 cases include exceptions such as: a) severe financial loss to a company or person;  b) urgent humanitarian reasons; c) compelling U.S. government interests; d) clear USCIS error. All expedite requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

DRSI TEAM will get the information required to see if USCIS will process your petition if your Form I-907 has been accepted. It is to note that those who have already filed prior to March 20, 2020, using the Premium Processing Service and who receive no agency action on their case will receive a refund, consistent with 8 CFR 103.7(e). Premium processing that were mailed before March 20 but not accepted will be refunded and DRSI TEAM can assist in making sure the refund gets through 

These are unchartered times and the circumstances many are facing at the moment in regards to their immigration statuses are unprecedented. Therefore, immigration attorneys must be at their sharpest, looking for methods to ensure their clients status are protected. Each country must decide on how to proceed with their immigration policies. However, this Global pandemic should be a sufficient cause for temporary extensions to be given as a reasonable measure.

DRSI LAW shall continue to keep you updated and aware of any changes. As well as offer any assistance required for the proper completion of your immigration file.

We wish you all to keep safe and wish a speedy recovery to all those suffering symptoms of COVID-19. We wish our deepest condolences and our hearts go out to all those that have lost family and friends to this invisible enemy. 



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