USCIS Response to COVID-19

  • As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended routine in-person services through at least May 3 to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.
  • USCIS domestic field offices will send notices with instructions to applicants and petitioners with scheduled interview appointments impacted by this closure. They will automatically be rescheduled once normal operations resume.
  • Individuals who had InfoPass appointments with a Field Office must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center.  
  • Please check the USCIS Field Offices page to see if your field office has reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.
  • As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended all biometrics appointments. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public.
  • When USCIS resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule Application Support Center appointments due to the temporary office closure. If you do not receive a new appointment notice by mail within 90 days, call 800-375-5283.
  • All ASC temporary closures are posted on uscis.gov:  For up to date closure information, visit the USCIS Office Closures page.

Note: USCIS is unable to automatically re-schedule appointments for Canadian and United Kingdom visa applicants.

  • Canada Visa Applicants:  visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website for updated information.
  • UK Visa Applicants:  visit the UK Visas and Immigration website for updated information.
  • Extensions of EAD Document: Applicants who had an appointment scheduled with an ASC after their closure on March 18 or who have filed a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension will have their application processed using previously submitted biometrics. This announcement is consistent with existing USCIS authorities regarding the agency’s ability to reuse previously submitted biometrics. This will remain in effect until ASCs resume normal operations. See our alert for more information. 

USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date, and location for the interview.

  • Please contact the asylum offices by email, mail, or phone. Contact information for each asylum office is found using the Asylum Office Locator. If you have an asylum application pending with us, you can check your case status online. You will need the receipt number that we mailed you after you filed your application. Start here: www.uscis.gov/casestatus.
  •  As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended routine in-person services through at least May 3 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public.
  • USCIS will automatically reschedule your ceremony. You will receive a notice for your rescheduled ceremony by mail. If you do not receive a notice within 90 days, please reach out to the USCIS Contact Center.

A response received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set forth in a Request for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny, Notice of Intent to Revoke, or Notice of Intent to Terminate will be considered before taking any action if such request or notice is issued and dated by USCIS between March 1 and May 1, 2020, inclusive. See our alert for more information.

On April 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS will publish a temporary final rule to amend certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

Due to travel restrictions and visa processing limitations as a result of actions taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as well as the possibility that some H-2A workers may become unavailable due to COVID-19 related illness, U.S. employers who have approved H-2A petitions or who will be filing H-2A petitions might not receive all of the workers requested to fill the temporary positions, and similarly, employers that currently employ H-2A workers may lose the services of workers due to COVID-19 related illness.

Under this temporary final rule, all H-2A petitioners with a valid temporary labor certification (TLC) can now start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in the United States and in valid H-2A status immediately after USCIS receives the H-2A petition, but no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the petition.

Additionally, USCIS is temporarily amending its regulations to allow H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the United States. These temporary changes will encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of foreign temporary and seasonal agriculture workers during the COVID-19 national emergency.

The temporary final rule is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. If the new petition is approved, the H-2A worker will be able to stay in the United States for a period of time not to exceed the validity period of the Temporary Labor Certification. DHS will issue a new temporary final rule in the Federal Register to amend the termination date in the event DHS determines that circumstances demonstrate a continued need for the temporary changes to the H-2A regulations.   

It is important to note to the public that this temporary final rule does not amend the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) regulations covering the labor market test and recruitment of U.S. workers for the H-2A process. Before filing an H-2A petition with DHS, the H-2A petitioner must have obtained a valid TLC from DOL for the job opportunity the employer seeks to fill with an H-2A worker(s). This final rule is not a joint rule with DOL, and USCIS is not proposing changes to DOL’s H-2A TLC process or its regulations.

Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, we recognize that nonimmigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay should apply for an extension or change of status in advance. Should this occur, the following options are available to nonimmigrants:

Apply for an Extension. Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing. 

If You File in a Timely Manner.  Nonimmigrants generally do not accrue unlawful presence while the timely-filed, non-frivolous EOS/COS application is pending. Where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time.

Flexibility for Late Applications. USCIS may excuse a nonimmigrant’s failure to timely file an extension/change of status request if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances. Under current regulations and as noted on our Special Situations page, if a petitioner or applicant files an extension of stay or change of status request (on Forms I-129 or I-539) after the authorized period of admission expires, USCIS may excuse the failure to timely file if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The length of delay must be commensurate with the circumstances. The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support their request, which USCIS will evaluate in its discretion on a case-by-case basis. These special situations have been used at various times in the past, including for natural disasters and similar crises.

Flexibility for Visa Waiver Entrants. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants are not eligible to extend their stay or change status. However, under current regulations, if an emergency (such as COVID-19) prevents the departure of a VWP entrant, USCIS in its discretion may grant up to 30 days to allow for satisfactory departure. Please see 8 CFR 217.3(a). For those VWP entrants already granted satisfactory departure and unable to depart within this 30-day period because of COVID-19 related issues, USCIS has the authority to temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, a VWP entrant should call the USCIS Contact Center.

For More Information. Please see 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4) and 8 CFR 248.1(c) for additional information on late requests to extend or change status. In addition, please see our Form I-129 and Form I-539 pages for specific filing and eligibility requirements for extensions and changes of status.

USCIS will consider certain Forms I-290B (from an appealable decision with AAO jurisdiction issued and dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, inclusive) it receives up to 60 calendar days from the  decision date of before it takes any action.

  • Learn about measures to assist you in extreme situations on our Special Situations page.

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