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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services District Offices to Open on June 4 and Relax Agency Rules In Light Of COVID-19 Pandemic

May 6, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced its intention to begin reopening its nationwide district offices on or after June 4th. District offices generally handle adjustment of status interviews for family and employment-based immigrant visa applicants, citizenship interviews and swearing-in procedures, as well as biometrics processing related to these applications.

It is important to note that the Remote Adjudication Centers, which process initial nonimmigrant visa petitions, immigrant petitions and applications for U.S. citizenship and ancillary immigration benefits, have remained open during this period.  The centers continue to process visa petitions. Premium processing of all nonimmigrant and all I-140 immigrant visa petitions remains suspended.

Consular offices under the jurisdiction of the State Department remain closed.

How Will USCIS Reschedule Appointments?

USCIS further indicated that it would automatically reschedule cancelled appointments and new notices will be mailed out to applicants via standard mail.  Individuals who secured INFOPASS appointments must take proactive action and reschedule either online through the USCIS Contact Center or by placing a phone call to 1-800-375-5283. 

Satisfactory Departure Requests for Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Visitors

For foreign nationals presently in the United States requiring an extension of their stay in ESTA status, USCIS has instituted a 30-day satisfactory departure protocol and a call to the contact center (1-800-375-5283).  The center should direct individuals to the closest airport/port of entry/land entry where one may extend their stay due to the inability to depart the United States in a timely manner.  Overstay on ESTA without obtaining satisfactory departure will result in a lifetime ban to utilize the beneficial provisions of the ESTA program.

It is our advice to our corporate and individual clients that they make certain that ESTA visa holders do not overstay ESTA expiration dates.

Authorized expiration dates of stay may be verified here. Should you require assistance in this regard, do not hesitate to contact us.

USCIS Extends Flexibility to Responses to Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny and Other Applications

USCIS also announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will automatically extend deadlines for those matters initially announced on March 30th.  The agency’s goal is to assist petitioners and individual applicants responding to:

  • Requests for evidence;
  • Continuations to request evidence;
  • Notices of intent to deny (NOID);
  • Notices of Intent to revoke;
  • Notices of intent to rescind and notices of intent to terminate regional centers; and
  • Filing date requirements to file Notices of Appeal/Motion (Form I-290B).

USCIS will grant an additional 60 day response period, after due dates for the above- mentioned actions, if the agency issued such requests or notices in the March 1 to July 1 period, inclusive.

 

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