Updates from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (as of March 22, 2020)
UPDATED March 18, 2020: USCIS Temporarily Closing Offices to the Public March 18 – April 1
Effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending 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 services will be effective until at least April 1. In the meantime, USCIS will provide limited emergency services. Please call the Contact Center for assistance with emergency services.
USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure. 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 of the interview. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if your field office has been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.
Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.
USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Please also visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for updates.
Field Office Appointments and Rescheduling
- As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of 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 or naturalization ceremonies 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.
Application Support Center (ASC) Appointments and Rescheduling
Current ASC Appointments
- As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended all biometrics appointments.
- When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule Application Support Center appointments due to the office closure. If you do not receive a new appointment notice by mail within 90 days, call 800-375-5283..
- All ASC 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.
- 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.
Naturalization Oath Ceremonies
- As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- 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.
Baltimore USCIS will be offering same-day naturalization oath ceremonies to individuals who are 60 years or older, expectant mothers, or to any individual with a compromised immune system or an underlying chronic medical condition. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services cannot inquire about an applicant’s medical history. If you are eligible for a same-day naturalization ceremony based upon these criteria, please notify the Immigration Services Officer at the time of your interview so that the necessary steps may be taken.
*UPDATED March 16, 2020 from USCIS District Congressional Lead, Shapel Lee:
The health and safety of the public and our employees is our highest concern. With the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are evaluating and adapting our operations to align with the latest guidance from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Measures to date include:
– Rescheduling appointments:
o We have posted signs at our entrance urging visitors to reschedule, without penalty, if they have traveled in or through CDC Level 3 countries, have been in contact with an individual with a confirmed case of Covid-19, or have flu-like symptoms. We will also reschedule an appointment, without penalty, for individuals who are pregnant, over 60 years old, immune-compromised, or who have a chronic health condition.
o To reschedule InfoPass appointments, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability call TTY 800-767-1833. To reschedule any other appointment, please follow the instructions on your notice. Please see the following USCIS webpage for more information on rescheduling appointments due to illness: If You Feel Sick, Please Consider Canceling and Rescheduling Your USCIS Appointment.
-Reducing the number of interviews per day and conducted same day oaths
o We will reschedule a portion of each day’s interviews in the days and weeks ahead to promote social distancing in our waiting areas and oath rooms, as well as to reduce the number of USCIS employees in the building on a given day, who instead will telework. If, despite the rescheduling, someone traveled very far to appear for the original interview appointment, we will endeavor to accommodate that person by completing the interview that day.
o We will conduct same day oath ceremonies, with no guests. If someone wishes to delay their oath until a future date when guests can attend, we will accommodate that.
We are paring down some elements of oath ceremonies to reduce time, contact, and thus exposure.
– Social distancing and good hygiene:
o While attending appointments in our office, please respect social distancing when in line or seated in waiting areas.
o Obey posted signs re: CDC guidelines: avoid close contact, cover nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your face, wash hands often and for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
o We are working on enhancements to the scope and frequency of cleaning services, with priority given to high touch surfaces like door handles.
o We have distributed Purell to offices and in waiting areas.
Please check our website on www.uscis.gov to stay up-to-date on any appointment or ceremony cancellations and we will also post messages on all public entrances to the field office. Visit CoronaVirus.gov for a complete list of CDC travel health notices. Your reinforcement of our USCIS BAL Field Office messaging will be greatly appreciated.
We will continue to update you on changes as they occur. Thank you so much for your partnership.
Baltimore Immigration Court Standing Order (Judge Kessler – March 16, 2020)
Effective immediately and for as long as the State of Maryland continues to operate under a State of Emergency, any attorney for any party may appear telephonically in cases before Judge Kessler without prior approval and without filing a motion in advance. Attorneys who would like to appear telephonically for a particular case should inform Judge Kessler’s legal assistant, Alethea Mable, in advance of the hearing by e-mail at email@example.com, and should provide the best phone number at which to be reached. Also during this time period, requests to continue cases due to COVID-19 concerns should be filed with as much notice as possible, but may on an emergency bases be made to the court by e-mail, again by emailing Judge Kessler’s legal assistant, whilc copying opposing counsel.
Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review
All non-detained aliens’ master calendar hearings scheduled March 16 through April 10, 2020, are postponed. Usual operations for filings except Seattle, which will remain closed through April 10. All other hearings proceedings.