Updated: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) around the country are gearing up to restart in-person services at their field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) after June 4, 2020.
As USCIS prepares to resume non-emergency public services, they have issued guidelines regarding access and entrance to the facilities.
- Visitors cannot enter the facility if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 or have been quarantined for such related matters.
- Entrance is permitted only 15 minutes before an appointment and 30 minutes before a Naturalization ceremony.
- Visitors cannot access any of the pens at the facilities and have to bring their own blue or black pens.
- All visitors have to wear a mask and maintain social distancing at all times.
With social distancing in mind, all USCIS offices had temporarily suspended their in-person services from March 18, 2020 to arrest the spread of the Coronavirus. As the US government begins to ease restrictions and certain states provide guidelines about opening up some essential businesses, USCIS too will start with some in-person services.
Until June 4, USCIS continues to offer services and process petitions that do not require in-person contact. While most field offices and ASCs are closed, emergency services are still being provided with a prior appointment. If you are trying to contact USCIS for an emergent service, you can contact them at USCIS Contact Center.
This is what you can expect as USCIS offices re-open on June 4, 2020:
- Naturalization Ceremony: Expect a notice from USCIS regarding the new rescheduled date. The Ceremonies will be shorter in duration and attendees will receive flyers with informational links instead of watching videos during the ceremony.
- Biometrics Appointment: Expect an update to the previously sent appointment-reschedule notice.
- Visa/US Citizenship Interview: A new date and time will be issued for the next available interview slot.
- Asylum Interview Appointments: Applicants that may have received interview cancellation notices from USCIS asylum offices should anticipate a notice about rescheduled asylum interview dates. This will have a new time, date and location of the interview. These interviews will be conducted via video transmission and applicants and USCIS officers will be sitting in different rooms.
- Application Support Centers: USCIS will send new appointment letters in the mail regarding the next steps-of-action for appointments that were affected due to office closures.
- InfoPass Appointments: Please reschedule your previously cancelled or new appointments by contacting the USCIS Contact Center. This may vary with each office and depend upon guidelines from individual states.
Important to Know
- Even though the USCIS offices reopen on June 4, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy.
- Always check to see if the specific office has been reopened before calling the Contact Center.
- As each State Governor issues guidelines about reopening certain services within each state, USCIS offices will adhere to these.
- While USCIS offices re-open, minimal social distancing is still to be maintained. Unless applicants receive the reschedule notice, they should not visit the office.
- There won’t be any penalty for requesting to reschedule an appointment if the applicants are sick or feeling ill and can’t make it to the offices on the appointment date. Just follow the protocol about rescheduling and notify the USCIS office in time.
- The notices being sent out have instructions about rescheduled visa appointments. Please adhere to the directions therein.
- Making personal visits at the counter at any USCIS office is strongly discouraged unless an appointment is confirmed first.
- Since CDC guideline requires restrictions on gatherings of more than 35 people, any walk-in immigration petitioner or unscheduled visitor will be asked to leave.
- Federal guidelines require that most essential service offices function at 25% of their capacity. Depending upon the perimeter of each USCIS office, the number of people inside the office could be restricted.