We have previously written about the government’s temporary closure of USCIS offices for non-emergency in-person services to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Since March 18, USCIS offices have been closed for in-person appointments such as green card and naturalization interviews, naturalization oath ceremonies, and biometrics appointments. Beginning June 4, 2020, certain USCIS filed offices will begin to reopen.
As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow.
If you are feeling sick, please do not go to your appointment. Instead, reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick.
USCIS will send notices to applicants to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies. The ceremonies may be shorter to limit exposure to those in attendance. Instead of playing videos during naturalization ceremonies, attendees will receive a flyer with information and links directing them to the videos on the USCIS website. Under the shortened format, all legally required portions of the ceremony will take place.
Attendance is limited to the naturalization candidate and individuals providing assistance to disabled persons.
Green Card and Naturalization Interviews and Appointments
USCIS will send notices to applicants and their attorneys with previously scheduled appointments and interviews. Those attending appointments should follow the safety guidelines outlined below.
Visitors are limited to the applicant, one representative, one family member and one individual providing disability accommodations. If necessary, the applicant should arrange to have their interpreter available by phone.
Application Support Centers
USCIS will automatically reschedule any necessary ASC biometrics appointments that were cancelled due to the temporary office closure. Individuals and their attorneys will receive a new appointment letter in the mail with specific safety requirements. Individuals who appear at a date or time other than what is listed on the ASC appointment notice may encounter significant processing delays.
Guidelines for Entering USCIS Facilities
- Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
- 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).
- 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.
As always, we will continue to monitor any updates from the government on behalf of our clients. We know many of you are eager to complete the remaining steps of your immigration matters that require in-person appointments. We will work with our clients and the government to ensure their immigration matters are resolved quickly and safely.