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USCIS Visitor Policy in light of USCIS Resuming Public Services on or after June 4, 2020

June 04, 2020
Anna Buskila

As states begin to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown, USCIS is preparing to reopen some domestic offices and resume public services on or after June 4, 2020. To protect their employees and the public, USCIS will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy.

Asylum Offices

USCIS asylum offices will automatically reschedule asylum interviews cancelled during the temporary closures. You will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location for the interview.

Because asylum interviews are lengthy and to comply with social distancing guidelines, asylum offices expect to conduct the interviews by video, where the applicants sit in one room and the interviewing officer sits in another room. Asylum offices will use available technology to ensure that the officer, applicant, interpreter and attorney can fully and safely participate in the interview while maintaining social distancing.

For affirmative asylum interviews, you must bring all immediate family members listed as dependents on your application and an interpreter, if you do not speak English.  Additionally, an attorney, witness, individual providing disability accommodations or, “trusted adult” if an applicant is a minor, may attend the interview.

For non-detained credible or reasonable fear interviews, you must bring any family members listed on the interview notice. Attorneys may attend credible and reasonable fear interviews but are encouraged to participate by phone. USCIS will provide contracted, professional interpreters for credible and reasonable fear interviews.

Naturalization Ceremonies

USCIS will automatically reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies. You will receive a new notice with the new time, date and location for the ceremony. The ceremonies may be shorter to limit exposure to those in attendance, but all legally required portions of the ceremony will take place.

You may not bring your family members, friends, or any other guests to your naturalization ceremony. Attendance is limited to the naturalization candidate and individuals helping disabled persons.

Interview and Appointments

USCIS will automatically reschedule previously scheduled appointments and interviews. You will receive a new notice with the new time, date and location for the appointment or interview.

Visitors are limited to the applicant, one attorney, one family member and one individual helping disabled persons. You should arrange to have your interpreter available by phone.

Application Support Centers

USCIS will automatically reschedule any necessary ASC appointments (for fingerprints, photographs, signatures, etc.) that were cancelled due to the temporary office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who appear at a date or time other than what is listed on the ASC appointment notice may encounter significant processing delays, except for military members.

USCIS Visitor Policy

If you are feeling sick, please do not come to the USCIS office. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow.

You may not enter a USCIS facility if you:

  •  – Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
  • – Have had close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
  • – Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days;
  • – Refuse to wear a face covering or mask in accordance with USCIS policy.

To limit the number of people in the waiting room, applicants with scheduled appointments may only be accompanied by:

  • – An attorney;
  • – An interpreter (in some cases, interpreters will need to be available by phone);
  • – A parent, legal guardian or a trusted adult, if the applicant being interviewed is a minor;
  • – Immediate family members listed as dependents on the application or interview notice; and
  • – An individual assisting a disabled person.

Additionally:

  • – Everyone over the age of two must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. However, you may be directed to briefly remove your face covering to confirm identity or take your photograph.
  • – You may not enter the USCIS facility more than 15 minutes prior to your appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
  • – You must maintain social distancing during screening and while in USCIS space. There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; you should pay close attention to these signs to ensure you follow social distancing guidelines.
  • – You are encouraged to bring your own black or blue ink pens.
  • – Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.

If you have any questions regarding your rescheduled interviews, appointments, or ceremonies and the new USCIS Visitor Policy, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan.

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