In mid-March, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic, also known as “COVID-19.” Shortly after the national emergency was declared, schools closed, “non-essential” businesses shut down, people were directed to stay home except for running essential errands, and even non-essential government activities were postponed, and immigration services were no exception.
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing some domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4. On March 18, USCIS temporarily suspended routine in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to protect our workforce and the public. For the latest information on the status of individual offices, check our office closures page,” according to uscis.gov.
If your immigration case has been on hold due to COVID-19 closures, we have good news. On June 4, 2020, some, but not all of the USCIS field and asylum offices have resumed their normal services, including non-emergency face-to-face public services. The application support centers, however, are resuming their services at a later time.
USCIS Enacts Safety Precautions
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, USCIS has enacted safety precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus. Visitors cannot enter one of the reopened USCIS facilities if they:
- Have a cough, fever, or trouble breathing (symptoms of COVID-19);
- Have had close contact in the last 14 days with anyone how has or was suspected to have COVID-19; or
- Have been directed by a healthcare professional to self-quarantine or self-isolate in the past 14 days.
USCIS is taking further precautions to protect visitors and staff from contracting COVID-19. They are asking visitors not to enter the building more than 15 minutes before their appointment. They are also providing hand sanitizer, visitors are being required to wear facemasks when entering the facility, visitors may be asked health screening questions, and they are being encouraged to bring their own blue or black ink pens to the facility.