MPLG has received several questions related to appointments, office closures, visas, and travel as a result of COVID-19. We answer some of them below.
Q1. Do I have to attend my biometrics appointment or USCIS interview scheduled at the USCIS field office during the Shelter-in Place (SIP) order?
A1. No, not until the SIP order is lifted. All USCIS offices are closed until April 1, 2020 and the Bay Area USCIS offices are closed until April 7, 2020. No one is required to attend biometrics or USCIS interviews at this time.
Q2. Do I have to call the USCIS to request a rescheduling?
A2. No. USCIS will cancel the appointments, but may not send a cancellation notice. Instead, they will automatically reschedule your interview to a date after USCIS resumes normal business operations.
Q3. When can I expect the USCIS to reschedule my biometrics/interview?
A3. As of now, there is no confirmed timeframe of when the rescheduled interviews will take place. However, we anticipate that it may be sometime in May/June.
Q4. I am currently on a B-2 visa and my I-94 expires on April 10, 2020. India is in a lockdown until April 14, 2020. What should I do?
A4. Filing an extension of the B-2 status will be prudent. Our firm can assist you in filing this extension. Please contact us should you need our assistance.
Q5. My attorneys are working remotely. Can I file any application/petition without the original signatures on the forms?
A5. Yes. you can sign the relevant benefit forms and send our firm the scanned copy. No original signatures are required at this time. However, please retain the signed pages should the USCIS request it at a later time. Note that digital signatures are not acceptable.
Q6. Are the US Consulates open and functioning?
A6. No. At this time, all routine visa services at the US Consulates abroad have been suspended pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation on COVID-19 pandemic.
Q7. When will the US Consulates open for normal operation?
A7. The Department of State has not provided information on when the US Consulates abroad will resume normal operations. (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/routine-visa-services-suspended-worldwide.html). We will provide addition information as we have them
Q8. I have received my immigrant visa stamp and it expires on April 10, 2020. India is in a lockdown until April 14, 2020. What can I do?
A8. You can request the consular post to reprint your visa foil once the travel restriction is removed and travel becomes possible again. Note that this visa foil will be printed only if supporting documents such as police clearance certificates, medical exams have not expired.
Disclaimer: This is a general advisory and not the basis for specific legal advice. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
Consultation: Please contact MPLG today to schedule a consultation for your individual concerns.
Kalpana V. Peddibhotla practices immigration and nationality law exclusively. Located in Silicon Valley / San Francisco Bay Area, her immigration practice includes employment and family-based petitions, naturalization, and appeals.