USCIS COVID-19 Re-Opening
June 3rd, 2020
USCIS offices will resume face-to-face services beginning on June 4, 2020. As offices begin to re-open, the USCIS will implement precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These precautions include:
- Visitors cannot enter an office 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.
- Visitors cannot prematurely enter a facility for an appointment more than 15 minutes prior (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
- Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
- Members of the public are required to wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. USCIS may provide a facial covering if the visitor does not have one at the time of their appointment or the visitor will be asked to reschedule.
- There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors must pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
- Individuals may also have to answer health-screening questions before entering a facility.
- Individuals are encouraged to bring their own pens (black or blue).
If you receive appointment notices to visit a USCIS facility, it will include further instructions. A web alert on the USCIS website includes further information on guidelines to follow in their branch offices:
Asylum offices will automatically reschedule interviews that were cancelled during the temporary closures. Asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location for the interview as well as information about safety precautions.
For the USCIS to comply with social distancing guidelines, asylum offices expect to conduct video-facilitated asylum interviews. The applicants will sit in one room and the interviewing officer will sit in another room. Asylum offices will utilize technology such as mobile devices provided by the agency, to ensure that the officer, applicant, interpreter and representative can fully and safely participate in the interview while complying with CDC guidelines.
For affirmative asylum interviews, all immediate family members listed as dependents on the application must attend. If the applicant does not speak English, an interpreter is encouraged to attend. If the applicant needs a representative, witness or individual providing disability accommodations, the individual may attend the interview. If the applicant is a minor, a “trusted adult” may attend the interview.
If individuals have appointments of non-detained credible or reasonable fear interviews, they are required to bring all family members listed on the interview notice. Representatives may attend credible and reasonable fear interviews, however, the USCIS recommend that representatives participate telephonically. USCIS will provide contracted, professional interpreters for credible and reasonable fear interviews if needed.
USCIS will send notices to applicants to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies. The ceremonies are expected to be shorter to limit exposure to those who attend. All legally required portions of the ceremony will continue as planned. Attendees will receive a flyer with information and links directing them to videos normally shown at naturalization ceremonies on the USCIS website.
Attendance is limited to the naturalization candidate and personal aides for disabled persons.
Interviews and Appointments
USCIS will send notices to applicants and petitioners that had previous scheduled appointments and interviews. Those who had other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices re-open. Please check the USCIS office closure page to see if your respective office has been re-opened before calling the Contact Center.
To abide social distancing guidelines, visitors are limited to the applicant, one representative, one family member and one individual providing disability accommodations if necessary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to arrange their interpreter available by phone at the time of the interview or appointment.
Application Support Centers
All necessary ASC appointments that were previously cancelled due to the temporary office closure will be rescheduled. USCIS will provide a new appointment letter in the mail with specific safety requirements for the individual to follow. If an individual (who is not a military member) appears at a date or time other than what is listed on the notice might endure significant processing delays.