US Immigration Processing Services Start To Resume In Phases

The phased resumption of services has started in respect of certain US immigration services and application processing.

In-country Green Card applications

USCIS has resumed processing of all Green Card applications made by applicants from within the US, following a temporary hold.

The announcement came after a “general hold” had been put on the adjudication of applications from US-based immigrants hoping to apply for lawful permanent residence.

According to internal USCIS guidance and emails, the hold applied both to cases that required in-person interviews and certain cases in which these interviews could be waived, although specific categories of applicants had been exempt from the hold.

The pause was required to focus on several priority issues and to free up capacity “to work cases that supported the efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and to focus on cases pending oath ceremonies”, according to a USCIS internal email to staff.

A USCIS statement said the change stemmed from the ability to resume citizenship proceedings that had been postponed by the pandemic and were the agency’s higher priority.

“Now that USCIS anticipates that we will conduct nearly all postponed naturalization ceremonies by the end of July, we are resuming adjustment of status interviews, citizenship interviews and other in-person services in offices where necessary health and safety protocols are in place,” the statement said.

DOS reopens US passport operations

The Department of Social Security has commenced ‘phase one’ of its office reopening plan following the temporary COVID-19 shutdown.

From June 10, processing has resumed for US passport operations. Capacity, however, remains limited, which is impacting service availability and processing times.

In-person passport appointments are only available for critical emergencies and non-emergency applications are being processed in the order they are received.

Applicants are not permitted to attend a DOS center or agency without a prior appointment.

US immigration advice

NNU Immigration is actively monitoring the impact of the pandemic on US immigration rules, policy and application processing.

As the situation continues to develop, please contact our US immigration specialists for the latest advice for your specific circumstances.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: June 28, 2020