CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 INFO

The novel coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Numerous countries, including the United States, have implemented travel or entry restrictions at their ports of entry. These changes will impact nonimmigrant visa holders as well as certain immigrants. The outbreak has severely disrupted immigration services and proceedings within the United States.

As of April 1, 2020 USCIS is still accepting and receipting applications.  However, all in-person appointments have been cancelled until at least May 3.  

We will update this page regularly with information about COVID-19 and its effect on U.S. immigration.  

U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) and DEPT OF STATE (DOS) UPDATES

April 1

USCIS Temporary Office Closure Extended until at least May 3.

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS offices will begin to reopen on May 4 unless the public closures are extended further. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public. 

 https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-temporary-office-closure-extended-until-least-may-3

March 20

The Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/suspension-of-routine-visa-services.html

March 17

USCIS will temporarily shut down all of its offices due to the outbreak. The agency said in a statement it would be closing all of its field offices and postponing naturalization ceremonies until at least April 1.

March 16

*All routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico will be suspended starting March 18, until further notice. This includes “both visa interviews at the embassy and consulates as well as processing at the Centros de Atención a Solicitantes (CAS).” Applicants with appointments will receive cancellation alerts via email. If you have questions, visit this page.

*All routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Paris have been cancelled indefinitely. If you need to travel urgently, visit this page for more information. If you have questions, email fae_contactus+fr+mrv+en@visaops.net, call +33 1 82 88 29 57 (local number) or dial +1 703 543 9342 (If you are calling from within the United States), to request an emergency appointment.

*All routine and nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India have been cancelled indefinitely. If you need to travel immediately, visit this page to request an emergency appointment.

*The Seattle Immigration Court will be closed through April 10. These courts will remain open, but postpone non-detained master calendar hearings: Boston, Los Angeles (North Los Angeles, Olive, Van Nuys), Newark, New York City (Broadway; Federal Plaza; Varick), Sacramento, and San Francisco.

March 13

*USCIS announces that seeking treatment or preventative care for COVID-19 will not  be considered a negative factor under the new public charge rule. The agency says it will not consider “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19” in a public charge determination.

*The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) will temporarily pause international exchange programs that involve travel to and from countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems a level 2 or level 3 travel risk.

*The USCIS Seattle Field Office reopened Mar. 11 after closing last week when an employee tested positive for the virus. So far, Seattle is the only field office that has shut due to the coronavirus. Learn more here about USCIS office closings.

*The Seattle Immigration Court has been closed since Mar. 11 due to a “secondary [coronavirus] exposure.” According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), filings due during this closure “will be considered timely filed if received on the court’s next business day.” In the meantime, emergency filings may be filed with the Tacoma Immigration Court.

*Some government offices are canceling and postponing naturalization ceremonies. But certain USCIS field offices are offering same-day naturalization to those who are over 60, pregnant, and/or sick. USCIS is not permitted to ask about an applicant’s medical history, so if you believe you qualify for a same-day oath ceremony, let the officer know during your interview so the necessary steps can be taken.

* USCIS asks that you consider canceling or rescheduling your appointment at a field office if you:

  • Believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19;

  • Are experiencing flu-like symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, or headache;

  • Recently visited a country designated a “level 3” because of the coronavirus. Currently, the CDC has urged the public to avoid any non-essential travel to China, Iran, and most of Europe.

TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

March 14

*President Trump announces that the United States will expand its European travel restrictions to Ireland and the United Kingdom.

March 11

* President Trump announces restrictions on travel from more than two dozen European countries, including Spain, Italy, and Germany. Note: The ban only applies to foreign nationals and not to:

  • U.S. citizens

  • Legal permanent residents (green card holders)

  • Parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, provided the U.S. citizen or green card holder is unmarried and under the age of 21

  • Sibling of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, provided they are both unmarried and under the age of 21

  • Children, foster children, or wards of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, or a prospective adoptee

Visit whitehouse.gov for the full list.

*El Salvador will only residents and citizens into the country, and they will need to quarantine for 30 days.

February 29

* President Trump bans all entry into the United States of travelers from Iran, excluding U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents (green card holders), as well as certain close relatives.

January 31

* President Trump bans all entry into the United States of all travelers from the People’s Republic of China, excluding U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents (green card holders), as well as certain close relatives.

TRAVEL TO OTHER COUNTRIES

The New York Times is keeping a rolling list of updates about travel restrictions around the world, and the State Department lists restrictions by country.

HELPFUL LINKS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Global Coronavirus Immigration Restrictions

U.S. Government Updates

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Country-specific information concerning COVID-19. (U.S. Department of State)

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