The COVID-19 epidemic has had a profound impact on both the public and private sectors, with businesses and organizations of all kinds suspending services for the protection of their own workers and that of the general public health. With schools across the country closing their doors and shuttering their windows, it remains an open question, which, if any, institutions will weather the storm without scaling back their services.
Joining the ranks of closed businesses, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will be suspending routine in-person services to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The suspension went into effect on March 18th and will not be lifted until April 1st at the earliest.
According to BuzzFeed News, USCIS chief Joseph Edlow emailed his staff late Tuesday to inform them that the Service would be “suspending all routine face-to-face services with applicants at all of our offices, including all interviews and naturalization ceremonies through at least April.”
USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public and will provide emergency services for limited situations. Emergency appointments can be scheduled by contacting the USCIS Contact Center. There is no word on whether emergency appointments will be granted.
USCIS domestic field offices will be responsible for notifying applicants and petitioners whose scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies have been affected by the closures. USCIS asylum offices will be distributing interview cancellation notices and automatically rescheduling asylum interviews. Once normal operations resume, USCIS will automatically reschedule Application Support Center appointments as well.
Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments will need to reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center; however the Service requests that individuals check the USCIS Field Offices page to see if their field office is open before calling the Contact Center.
USCIS service centers, where employees already work remotely on a regular basis, remain open for the time being. However, we expect processing delays to increase.