18 March 2020
Category News Room
18 March 2020,
 0

USCIS Temporarily Closes Field Offices

In response to the spread of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), effective today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has suspended all in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCS) until at least April 1. Individuals with scheduled appointments or naturalization oath ceremonies will receive cancellation notices in the mail. Although the agency has indicated that it will provide “emergency services for limited situations,” the agency has not articulated guidelines for the “limited situations.” Cancelled appointments will be automatically rescheduled once normal operations resume. For cancelled ASCP appointments, if you do not receive a new appointment notice by mail within 90 days after USCIS resumes its normal operations, please call the agency at 800-375-5283.

The cancelation of interviews and appointments will disrupt the timeline for numerous immigration processes. If you are impacted by a cancellation, please contact a member of our team to explore potential options to mitigate any adverse consequences. Notably, for cancelled adjustment interviews, given that some sources expect the COVID-19 outbreak to last until July/August, and USCIS may continue keeping offices shuttered beyond April 1 until that time, depending on when your current nonimmigrant status expires, we may advise seeking an extension of your existing status.

U.S. Closes Northern Border

On Wednesday morning, via tweet, President Trump announced that the United States will temporarily close its border with Canada to “non-essential traffic” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade will not be impacted. No additional details have been announced regarding the border closure. However, in the past, the Administration has indicated that any border closure would not impact anyone with a work permit. It is not clear whether this remains the case based on today’s announcement. In addition, the Administration is currently discussing whether to also close the southern border, in whole or in part. A decision is expected within 24-48 hours.

Important Upcoming Learning Opportunity This Month

Please join David Brown, Managing Partner of Brown Immigration Law, for guidance on how to best manage the impact of the current pandemic on U.S. immigration issues. This is a planned 45 minute update on all the key compliance issues of concern for employers and their foreign staff created by COVID-19 changes. David has been managing employment-based immigration issues for over 22 years, and although this pandemic is wholly unprecedented, he has worked through other interesting periods in our immigration history that offer guidance for this situation.

As we know, there is new news every hour of every day, and this is an evolving problem that is constantly changing.

David will synthesize the most important immigration topics you are facing as employers and HR today, including:

  • the effects on employees working from home;
  • how travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals (my visa is expiring soon but I do not want to return to a travel-restricted country);
  • how government office closures will impact filing options;
  • the impact of remote instruction at many colleges and universities on student status, and potential issues with graduation delay for OPT (Master Cap filings)

This is just a sample of issues our clients are confronting and that David will discuss. After the initial presentation David will stay for an extended Q&A period to provide as many answers as possible.

If you have specific questions you would like answered, please send us your question in advance to info@brownimmigrationlaw.com.

REGISTER HERE

Once registered, you will receive an email with a link to use to join the video chat on the day of the event. Please note: This link should not be shared with others; it is unique to you. If you ever misplace the invitation link, simply visit the webinar schedule on our website to join the LIVE chat.

If you have contacts or colleagues who may benefit from our talks, you are welcome to invite them to join our VIP invitation list by sharing our webinar schedule where they can subscribe for further information.

Don’t miss these opportunities to increase your knowledge on important immigration issues!

Thank you and we look forward to having you at the event.

 

** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **

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