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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Wednesday that it is preparing to reopen some of its domestic offices and resume non-emergency public services June 4.
In March, USCIS temporarily closed its offices to the public and suspended non-emergency public services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS said Wednesday that information on the status of individual offices will be posted on the agency’s office closings page.
Services will be rescheduled as follows:
Guidelines for visitors: USCIS provided guidelines for entering USCIS facilities, saying that visitors should not enter a USCIS facility more than 15 minutes before their appointment (or 30 minutes for a naturalization ceremony), that hand sanitizer will be provided and that members of the public must wear a facial covering. Applicants should also bring their own pens (blue or black ink).
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, has been in close contact with someone who has (or is suspected to have) COVID-19, or who has been directed to self-isolate will not be permitted to enter a USCIS facility. The agency stressed that there is no penalty for applicants who have to reschedule appointments because they are sick. Additional information about visiting USCIS facilities is available here.
Revenue shortfall: The announcement about reopening came after USCIS asked Congress for $1.2 billion in emergency funding to make up for a shortfall in revenue because of COVID-19. The agency said it would run out of money this summer without an injection of funding and is reportedly considering imposing a surcharge on petitions and applications to cover the shortfall.
BAL Analysis: While some USCIS offices are moving toward reopening, services will be limited as some offices are likely to remain closed and others will adhere to new safety measures. Additional information on which offices will reopen is expected soon. BAL continues to monitor USCIS’s operations and funding status and will provide information as it becomes available.
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