USCIS – COVID-19 UPDATE

As I told you in an earlier posting, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) has closed its doors to the general public until at least June 4th.  I expect that date to be extended even further.

 

That means there are no interviews, no oath ceremonies and not much is getting done.

I keep getting calls and emails from clients asking “is this COVID-19 shutdown going to affect my case?”  The simple answer is YES.  You are in a line that is not moving.  It is going to take you longer to get to the front of that line to get the immigration benefit you are entitled to.

Simply put — you need to be patient.
Earlier today, USCIS announced it is giving applicants and petitioners more time to respond to some USCIS requests.  Here is the press release issued earlier today by USCIS.

Stay home.  Stay safe.

Thanks,

John Foley
Foley Law Offices, P.C.

—————–USCIS Press Release——————–

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30 to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; and
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date: 

This flexibility applies to the above documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and July 1, 2020, inclusive.

Response Due Date: 

USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action. USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.

USCIS is adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for latest facts and other USCIS updates.

News from the USCIS:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This announcement is consistent with existing USCIS authorities regarding the agency’s ability to reuse previously submitted biometrics.

Applicants who had an appointment scheduled with an ASC on or after the March 18 closure or has filed an I-765 extension will have their application processed using previously submitted biometrics.  This will remain in effect until ASCs are open for appointments to the public.

Over the years, I have suggested USCIS use fingerprints already in the system instead of having the same applicants come back to the ASC office.  Most applicants visit a ASC center THREE times!  When only one visit would serve the purpose.

In addition to being more convenient for the Applicant, think of the savings on the USCIS side!  They would be able to cut 2/3rds of the biometric appointments, 2/3rds of the notices sent by snail mail and 2/3rds of the headaches to overworked and under paid USCIS staff.

Speaking of USCIS staff, the ASC office in Revere, Massachusetts is managed by Mr. A.  As any immigration lawyer in New England can tell you, Mr. A. is a problem solver.  He answers when called and he helps when he can.  One of the many people working to make our immigration system work from the inside.

Wash your hands!  Be safe!

Message to Foley Law Offices Clients

We sent the message below to Foley Law Offices clients who have interviews scheduled with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The bottom line is the USCIS is closed at least until April 1st.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Client:
I am writing to inform you that your upcoming interview with USCIS has been cancelled. USCIS has canceled all “in person” interviews, including naturalization ceremonies, until April 1st.

You do not have to do anything. USCIS will re-schedule all appointments when it is safe to resume interviews. We will put you on a 30-day calendar and continue to update you as we move forward together.

Foley Law Offices will remain open but most communication will be via email and telephone. If you have specific questions about your case, please email me ([email protected]) or if you would prefer to discuss your situation, call me at (617) 378-8540.

Copied below is the stakeholders email I received from USCIS announcing the shut down. Please use this down time to continue to collect evidence (ie: bank statements, photographs, etc.) of the bona-fides of your case.

Be safe! We will get though this together.

Thanks,

John
03182020

Foley Law Offices, P.C.
10 Post Office Square
Suite 800 South
Boston, MA 02109
Ph: (617) 850-9018
Cell: (617) 378-8540
[email protected]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Stakeholder,

Effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending routine in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This suspension of public service will be in effect until at least April 1.

Educating yourself and practicing good hygiene are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 website.

We will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus and our office closure web page for updates.

Sincerely,
USCIS Contact Center

Production Problems at USCIS

Beginning today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) will begin recalling approximately eight thousand five hundred Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to production error. The Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens. The cards were printed with an incorrect “Resident Since” date and mailed between February and April 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect Green Cards and to their attorneys of record. The affected individuals should return their incorrect Green Card to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. They may also return their cards to USCIS field offices. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within fifteen (15) days of receiving the incorrect card.

The recall does not affect these Green Card holders’ status as lawful permanent residents. If affected individuals need to travel internationally or prove their lawful permanent residence while they wait for a replacement card. they may contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to determine if they need additional proof.

Spouses of U.S, citizens map apply for naturalization after three years of permanent residency and must meet other requirements. The incorrect date on these cards could lead applicants to wait longer than necessary to apply to become U.S. citizens.

Foley Law Offices is checking Green Cards received between February and April to see if any of our clients need to take action. If you have any questions about your Green Card, please call us at (617) 973-6448 for a free telephone consultation.