How is COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Affecting Immigration?

June 5, 2020 2:08 pm
by David Jakeman

All across the country, lives have been upended by the spread of COVID-19. Immigrants are no exception. As immigration lawyers, we’re doing our best to stay on top of developments to make sure our clients are taken care of.

Is USCIS still doing interviews?

As of March 18, USCIS has cancelled all routine in-person services. That includes interviews, naturalization ceremonies, and biometrics appointments. However, it is still possible to schedule emergency appointments in limited situations. The latest update is that offices will open on or after June 4, although the situation will be closely monitored.

How do I reschedule my USCIS interview?

Since all appointments have been suspended, USCIS has announced that when its offices open back up for regular appointments, it will automatically reschedule your appointment. You should receive a letter within 90 days of USCIS opening back up. Of course, at this point, no one knows exactly when that will be.

However, USCIS did add that it can’t automatically reschedule appointments for visa applicants from the UK and Canada. It outlines instructions for how to reschedule appointments on its website.

Immigration Court Cases Cancelled

Since early spring, immigration courts across the country are also closed. If you have a case on the court calendar, it will need to be rescheduled. This means your case might be postponed several years, since immigration courts have such a backlog anyway. After the government shutdown of 2019, many people had to reschedule cases, similar to what’s happening now. 

For some people, having their case cancelled is devastating news, as the clock is ticking and they need immigration relief as soon as possible. For other people who don’t have strong cases anyway, having their case cancelled gives them extra time.

Changes to Immigration

At the end of April, President Trump announced some massive changes to immigration. He suspended all immigration to the United States. That means that people who are currently outside the US who don’t have a valid immigrant visa or official travel document current with the date of the proclamation, April 22, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States. However, exceptions are made for certain categories of people, including health care workers, legal permanent residents, and the spouses of US citizens. More information is available at whitehouse.gov

As always, if you have questions about your immigration status, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our immigration lawyers are always happy to help! 

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