COVID-19 Update – COVID-19 Update: USCIS Suspends Most In-Person Services, U.S. North/South Borders Closed to Nonessential Traffic, Other Developments – As many know by now, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19, is now a pandemic threatening populations worldwide.
With respect to its effects on employment-based immigration, foreign students, and cross-border travel, the following are a few highlights of developments in the short term, as of press time:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1, 2020, to help slow the spread of COVID-19. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. The agency said it will provide emergency services in limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment, contact the USCIS Contact Center (). USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies affected by this closure.
- The stoppage includes visa interviews for H-2A Mexican temporary farmworkers at U.S. consular posts in Mexico who want to work in the United States. Some may be able to obtain interview waivers, but growers reportedly were told that H-2A visa applications for new workers would not be processed. This has raised concerns about potential effects on the U.S. produce supply.
- USCIS is accepting all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.