Covid-19 has significantly impacted the way governmental institutions conduct their business. On March 18th, 2020, USCIS had temporarily suspended all routine in-person services at its field offices. They did so in order to follow the CDC guidelines and reduce the spread of the virus. Many people have had their lives put on hold waiting for the interviews to resume in order to get their visa, naturalization and Green Card approvals.
The USCIS has now announced the return of some offices including in-person interviews by June 4th. It is to note that the USCIS will be opening under strict guidelines to protect the workforce and the public. Once they resume they will ensure to reduce the number of appointments and interviews for the purpose of being able to apply the proper social distancing requirements. They will also focus on spacing out the appointments to allow for cleaning and to reduce waiting room occupancy.
Each client that will be coming in for an interview will receive an appointment notice which will give important information on safety precautions required to go to their appointment. It is to note that those who had their appointments canceled must reschedule them once the offices re-open. Moreover, those coming to the USIC office are limited to the applicant, one representative, one family member, and one individual providing disability accommodations. If an interpreter is required, he should be made available by phone and not come with the applicant.
It is important to take into consideration that these dates are tentative and appointments can be rescheduled at any time by the USCIS if they feel the safety precautions are not sufficient in protecting its workforce and visitors.
The USCIS Guidelines for coming the offices include the following:
Those who have the following cannot enter the offices:
- Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
- Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
- 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 the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
- Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
- Members of the public must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. Visitors may be directed to briefly remove their face covering to confirm identity or take their photograph. There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors should pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
- Individuals are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens.
This pandemic has affected so many on an economical level. However, it has also impacted those who had long planned for re-location to the US; for employment, business and or family reasons. The USCIS re-opening gives some sense of normalcy returning to this new world we have come to known since COVID-19 began.
DRSI LAW is staying up to date regarding all updated USCIS information and COVID-19 news and we are here to answer any questions you may have.