Today we want to take a moment to address California immigration and how immigration, in general, has been impacted by the Coronavirus.
California Immigration and Coronavirus, What You Need to Know
Coronavirus is shaking up nations all over the world and creating complications and delays in just about every aspect of life and the U.S. immigration system has not been untouched. So, what do you need to know about Coronavirus as an immigrant in the U.S.?
A Halt in Immigration Services
As far as the big picture is concerned, the U.S. immigration system has come to a halt due to the Coronavirus. This means that the “regular” services that are offered by the USCIS are not currently available, more specifically, the USCIS has stopped all in person-services at its field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers. Currently, this closure is extended to May 3rd, but it’s very likely that this date will be pushed back even further.
What the USCIS Closure Means For You
If you are waiting for an extension of status, work permit, green card, U.S. citizenship through naturalization (even those who have interview appointments set up), and naturalization ceremonies, you will not be able to complete any of these actions until May 3rd (or later).
For those in need of biometrics for a work permit in the U.S., the USCIS has announced that they will use previous biometrics in order to process the Form I-765.
Ask Emma or Consult Your Attorney
If you have questions about your current immigration needs, it’s best to consult an immigration attorney who can help to answer your specific questions. If you have a less pressing question, however, you can consult Emma – the USCIS virtual assistant.
Emma is limited, but she can answer general questions about immigration services and help you to locate information about the U.S. immigration system.
You Can Use Your USCIS Online Account Too
You can also create an account on USCIS to complete certain tasks. Once logged in, you can use your account to submit some forms online as well as to review your current status within the U.S. immigration system. The online system also allows you to submit any proof or documents that may be required with application forms, reply to requests for more information from the USCIS, check your application status and pay any fees due online with a credit card or debit card.
…If you are a foreign national in the U.S. with non-immigrant status and you are closing in on the expiration date of your Visa and are unable to travel to your home country, you can use the online USCIS system to file Form I-539 for an extension of your status. USCIS is expected to grant these Visa extensions due to the unusual circumstances that the current pandemic has left us all in. You MUST do this before your current Visa expiration date, though, in order to avoid being considered an undocumented immigrant.
…If you are a foreign national seeking to extend your stay in the U.S. and currently have one of the documents listed below, you can file a Form I-539 online.
▪ B-1 temporary visitor for business
▪ B-2 temporary visitor for pleasure
▪ F-1 academic student with a specific status expiration date
▪ F-2 spouse or child of an academic student with a specific expiration date
▪ M-1 vocational student
▪ M-2 spouse or child of an M-1 student
…If you are petitioning for benefits and need to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE), a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or certain Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) issued by USCIS, the agency will allow you more time to respond to that request. If you have been unable to respond to a request within 60 days, after the due date listed on your request, the USCIS claims that they will take facts into consideration before they take any further action in your case.
Although it’s highly likely that lines will be congested, you will be able to contact USCIS in certain circumstances. If you are facing an urgent immigration situation, you can contact USCIS via phone toll-free 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TDD).
If You’re Not Sure What You Need Help With…
If you are facing an immigration situation and you’re not sure what you need to do but you cannot get in touch with USCIS, the best thing you can do is get in touch with a reputable immigration attorney. Your attorney will be able to give you more detailed instructions on what you need to do to maintain your status as a legal immigrant in the United States.
Are You In Need of a Reputable and Experienced California Immigration Attorney?
If you are in need of an experienced and reputable immigration attorney in California, Nelson and Associates in Pasadena can help. Just pick up the phone and call us at 626-683-3451 to arrange for a consultation today to see how we can help.