*As with everything in this climate, immigration-related changes are happening rapidly. We will do our best to keep this page updated.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that it is adopting measures to minimize the immigration consequences associated with responding to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.
Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny
For applicants and petitioners who receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.
Boston Immigration Court has ordered that through April 10, 2020, attorneys may appear telephonically for cases before the court without prior approval. See the Standing Order of the Boston Immigration Court dated March 23, 2020 for more detail.
Foreign nationals who are in the United States pursuant to a Visa Waiver (ESTA) and who cannot leave the U.S. within the 90-day authorized stay period, may be eligible to request “Satisfactory Departure”. The procedure for each CBP Port/Preclearance is different. As of March 23, 2020, Boston Logan Airport has allowed Satisfactory Departure requests. In Boston, if individual were admitted under the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA, and are unable to depart the U.S. before their current period of admission because of COVID-19 related issues (i.e. possible exposure to COVID-19, flu-like symptoms, no available flights, other related health reasons), they may submit a request to the CBP Logan Deferred Inspection office.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency announced by President Trump on March 13, 2020, we will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.
USCIS already accepts various petitions, applications and other documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature, unless otherwise specified. For forms that require an original “wet” signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures for the duration of the National Emergency. This temporary change only applies to signatures. All other form instructions should be followed when completing a form.
Individuals or entities that submit documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature must also retain copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature. USCIS may, at any time, request the original documents, which if not produced, could negatively impact the adjudication of the immigration benefit.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the immediate and temporary suspension of premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Effective today, March 20, 2020, USCIS will not accept any new requests for premium processing. USCIS will process any petition with a previously accepted Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, in accordance with the premium processing service criteria. However, USCIS will not be able to send notices using pre-paid envelopes. USCIS will only send batch-printed notices. Petitioners who have already filed a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, using the premium processing service and who receive no agency action on their case within the 15-calendar-day period will receive a refund, consistent with 8 CFR 103.7(e). USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing.
USCIS will reject the I-907 and return the $1,440 filing fee for all petitions requesting premium processing that were mailed before March 20 but not yet accepted.
This temporary suspension includes petitions filed for the following categories:
- I-129: E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.
- I-140: EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.
This includes new premium processing requests for all H-1B petitions, including H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year 2021, petitions from previous fiscal years, and all H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap. USCIS previously announced the temporary suspension of premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject petitions and tentative dates for resumption of premium processing service. This announcement expands upon and supersedes the previous announcement.
All USCIS field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers (ASCs) will not provide in-person services until at least April 1. This includes interviews, naturalization ceremonies and biometric collection appointments. However, USCIS will continue to provide emergency services during this time. If you have an emergency service request, please contact the USCIS Contact Center. USCIS field offices will send de-scheduling notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments impacted by this closure. USCIS will send de-scheduling notices to naturalization applicants scheduled for naturalization ceremonies. All applicants will be rescheduled when USCIS resumes normal operations.
USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview.
USCIS will also automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the office closure. Those impacted will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments at the field office must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if your field office has been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.
Additionally, USCIS is postponing all in-person public engagement and outreach events for the duration of the office closure.