U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain field offices, application support centers and asylum offices that have been closed since March 18, will re-open June 4, 2020. In-person services will resume with precautions to ensure safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain field offices, application support centers and asylum offices, will resume face-to-face services beginning on June 4, 2020.1 These offices have been closed since March 18, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-200, 27 April 2020.)
The USCIS field offices play a key role in the immigration adjudication process as they are responsible for conducting the final green card and naturalization interviews. Naturalization ceremonies also take place at the USCIS field offices once applicants have passed their civic exams. Application Support Centers (ASC) provide fingerprinting services for some immigration applications (biometrics). Asylum Offices are equally important as they handle scheduled interviews for asylum-related issues.
Applicants and petitioners who had their appointments cancelled due to office closures will receive new interview notices. Appointment notices will include further guidance for visiting USCIS facilities. Those who had other appointments including “Infopass” must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center2 once field offices are open to the public. Given that only some facilities will reopen, many individuals will continue to await the opening of their local USCIS field office in order to complete any necessary biometric appointment or in-person interview to continue the processing of their application.
According to the announcement, members of the public will not be able to visit an office if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. This would include a cough, fever or difficulty breathing. In addition, individuals who have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 within the preceding 14 days would also be refused entry. Likewise, individuals who have been directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health-care provider or public health official within the last 14 days will not be admitted.
To help ensure physical distancing and help slow the spread of the coronavirus, USCIS will require that visitors arrive no more than 15 minutes before their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies). Members of the public will be required to wear a face-mask when entering the facilities, and if they do not have one, USCIS may provide one or the visitor will be asked to reschedule his or her appointment. Hand sanitizer will be provided at entry points, and there will be markings and physical barriers within the facility to help individuals exercise social/physical distancing. All visitors will need to answer health screening questions before entering the facility.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services or legal services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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