USCIS preparing to reopen offices to public ‘on or after’ June 4: Important updates and information

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing to reopen its offices to the public on or after June 4.

Once reopening, USCIS offices will "reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy," the organization announced earlier this week.

Individuals will also receive information in their updated appointment notices about other safety precautions that must be followed during their visit to a USCIS facility.

USCIS temporarily suspended all "routine" in-person services at its field offices March 18 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Below are additional important updates about USCIS' re-opening procedures:

Guidelines for entering USCIS facilities

Visitors will not be permitted inside a USCIS facility "more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies)" and will be provided hand sanitizer upon arrival. Individuals are also required to wear a facial covering, which may briefly need to be removed to confirm identity or take a photograph, if necessary.

USCIS offices will contain markings and physical barriers to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed inside the facility and visitors are encouraged to bring their own pens (black or blue ink).

Individuals 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.

There will be no penalty for rescheduling an appointment because of an illness, USCIS said.

Naturalization Ceremonies

Individuals whose naturalization ceremonies were cancelled because of the office closures will automatically receive a notice from USCIS which contains a rescheduled date.

Rescheduled ceremonies may be shorter in length to limit the exposure of attendees, however, all "legally required portions" will be performed.

Only naturalization candidates and/or "individuals providing assistance to disabled persons" will be allowed to attend the ceremony.

Interviews, appointments and Application Support Centers

Applicants and petitioners with postponed appointments and interviews with USCIS will receive notices from the agency.

Attendance at appointments and interviews will be limited to the "applicant, one representative, one family member and/or one individual providing disability accommodations," according to USCIS. Applicants "should arrange to have their interpreter available by phone" and all visitors are required to follow safety protocols.

USCIS will also automatically reschedule any required ASC appointments that were affected by the office closures by distributing new appointment letters through the mail. If applicable, that letter will also contain additional safety protocols that must be followed.

As always, do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm by phone at 704-442-8000 or via email with questions regarding the reopening of USCIS field offices or any other immigration-related matter.

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