The Latest: U.S. Immigration's Responses to COVID-19
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
The latest on USCIS’s response to COVID-19 is at uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
The Colorado USCIS offices are open, with additional precautions. You can see the latest on all the USCIS offices at https://www.uscis.gov/es/estatus-oficinas.
USCIS will automatically reschedule all appointments scheduled during the time its offices were closed and will mail new appointment notices. This includes ASC fingerprint appointments, asylum appointments, and naturalization oath ceremonies. If you have not received a reschedule notice, you can check on your case by calling 800-375-5283 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.
USCIS is still receiving and processing applications. But receipt notices for applications filed at a USCIS Lockbox are delayed. Most application receipts are being processed within 30 days of the date of delivery.
USCIS is processing work authorization renewals and some other applications using the fingerprints taken previously.
Deadlines for responses to request for evidence, notices of intent to deny, notices of intent to revoke, and notices of intent to terminate dated between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021 have been extended for 60 additional days past the original deadline.
If USCIS denies your application between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021, and it is a decision that can be appealed, then the deadline for your appeal (Form I-290B) is 60 days from the date of the denial.
If your nonimmigrant status expires and you are unable to leave the United States on time because of the COVID-19 closures, you should apply to extend or change your status. USCIS has announced it will accept a late application to extend or change status if the application convincingly documents the reason for the delay and the delay is reasonable under the circumstances.
If your ESTA (visa waiver program) authorized stay is about to expire and you are unable to leave the United States on time because of the COVID-19 closures, you should request a 30-day extension, called a "satisfactory departure," from USCIS or CBP. To request it from USCIS, call 800-375-5283. To request it from CBP, contact the CBP office at the airport (or land port of entry) where you entered the United States.
U.S. Embassies & Consulates
On March 19, the Department of State issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory recommending no international travel. U.S. citizens who are overseas and experience a COVID-19 related emergency should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
On March 20, the Department of State suspended all routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates.
Since then, they have begun to provide some services related to H-2 visas, and H and J visas for medical professionals.
Visit travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html for more details.
Aurora, CO: The detained court closed briefly, but it quickly reopened and resumed hearings.
Denver, CO: All non-detained hearings were suspended from March 18, 2020 through September 14, 2020. If your case was affected, you will receive a paper notice rescheduling your hearing.
You can also find the current operational status of each immigration court at justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement
ICE publishes updates at ice.gov/covid19.
On March 18th, they said they would focus their enforcement efforts on “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.” It is unclear whether they have followed this, but even if they do, this still describes a lot of people.
ICE does not make arrests at hospitals “except under extraordinary circumstances.” Colorado’s Governor also just signed a law yesterday making it illegal for ICE to make courthouse arrests.
Department of Labor
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification is completely operational. They have said they will grant extensions to businesses and law firms that are unable to respond to requests within the normal window.
We are not currently working on any cases that involve the OFLC, so I have not been keeping a super close eye on their updates. I do have access to a recent FAQ, so if you have questions, feel free to reach out.