The immigration agency to automatically reschedule all cancelled appointments.
In a major relief to Indians and others requiring various types of immigration services from visa renewals to work permits to green cards, USCIS is preparing to resume public services on or after June 4
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the reopening of some of its domestic offices for non-emergency services more than two and a half months after their closure since March 18 due to covid lockdown.
As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy, the agency announced Thursday.
Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow, it said.
The agency advised those feeling sick to reschedule their appointment for when they are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling an appointment for the sick, it said,
USCIS asylum offices will automatically reschedule asylum interviews that were cancelled during the closures.
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In accordance with social distancing guidelines, and due to the length of asylum interviews, asylum offices expect to conduct video-facilitated asylum interviews, where the applicants sit in one room and the interviewing officer sits in another room, the agency said.
Asylum offices will use available technology, including mobile devices provided by the agency, to ensure that the officer, applicant, interpreter and representative can fully and safely participate in the interview while maintaining social distancing.
For affirmative asylum interviews, applicants must bring all immediate family members listed as dependents on the application and an interpreter, if the applicant does not speak English.
USCIS will also send notices to applicants to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies. The ceremonies may be shorter to limit exposure to those in attendance.
Instead of playing videos during naturalization ceremonies, attendees will receive a flyer with information and links directing them to the videos on the USCIS website.
USCIS will send notices to applicants and petitioners with previously scheduled appointments and interviews to reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public.
USCIS will automatically reschedule any necessary Application Support Centers (ASC) appointments that were cancelled due to the temporary office closure. Individuals will receive a new appointment letter in the mail with specific safety requirements.
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, it said.
Visitors with any symptoms of covid-19, including cough, fever or difficulty in breathing, would not be allowed to enter a USCIS facility.
Visitors will be allowed to enter a facility no more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies). Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
Members of the public must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities.
Visitors may be directed to briefly remove their face covering to confirm identity or take their photograph, the agency said.