As we get used to the new normal in the Post-COVID-19 world, many U.S. Immigration Agencies have already begun adapting to the new normal and are starting to resume operations. As of June 4, 2020, USCIS reopened some domestic offices to resume nonessential services. In a brief statement, USCIS stated they will reopen asylum offices, application support centers, reschedule naturalization ceremonies, and reschedule all previously scheduled appointments and interviews. U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad will mostly remain closed for nonessential services. Those will reopen based on U.S. approval and each base country’s timeline. What does it mean to reopen and resume services?
As of now, USCIS states it will resume services in a manner consistent with CDC Guidelines in order to protect both employees and the public. Some of the new policies include wearing face coverings properly, so as to cover the mouth and nose; strict instructions directing the public to follow social distancing guidelines, and an encouragement for members of the public to bring their own black or blue ink pens.
With the reopening of USCIS offices – and the rescheduling of naturalization ceremonies, interviews and appointments – comes a new manner in which services will be conducted. For example, for asylum interviews facilities will work to conduct video facilitated interviews which allow for social distancing of officers and interviewees. For naturalization ceremonies, all legally required portions of the ceremony will occur, but it is expected to be much shorter. Attendees will now be directed to videos on the USCIS website for viewing at home rather than having videos played during the ceremony. Visitors may enter the ceremony center up to 30 minutes beforehand. For all other interviews and appointments at USCIS offices, visitors will not be allowed into the building more than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
As USCIS further resumes all operations, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has prepared to continue providing the best service possible. This new normal is different, all of our consultations are now over the phone or through video conferencing, but rest assured the quality of service we provide our clients will never waver.