We totally understand if you’re wondering whether you can apply for immigration status during the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. You might also be wondering if you can change or extend your status. There have been announcements by USCIS about postponing interviews and biometrics appointments and suspending premium processing of work visa petitions, immigration courts postponing non-detained case hearings, and suspension of visa processing at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
We want to be sure you know that you can still apply for immigration status right now. USCIS is still accepting and processing applications. Although it is not conducting interviews, infopass appointments, or biometrics appointments through at least May 3rd, its offices are still accepting applications and USCIS officers are still reviewing and adjudicating applications.
Knowing that, you might still be wondering if it’s a good idea to apply for immigration status right now, so we want everyone to know about some of the new measures in place to make it easier for people to stay safe and healthy while filing their immigration applications.
Is it Safe for Me to Meet with Someone to Review and Sign Documents?
USCIS recently announced that it will accept copies of original signatures for all forms during this time because meeting face to face to get an original signature may not be feasible. So right now, you don’t have to worry about the risk of meeting with someone to review and sign your forms.
We understand that times are difficult for many people who are concerned for their health and their economic well-being. We also know that USCIS, ICE and CBP continue to operate and our clients’ needs remain a priority. Our office is in Houston, Texas, and we are subject to a Stay at Home order through April 3, 2020.
Despite this requirement that we remain at home, our office is operating at full capacity from our remote work locations. We send documents electronically to be reviewed (or send a hard copy by mail if needed) and we can file applications with an electronic copy of signed pages.
USCIS Flexibility for Responses to Requests for Evidence & Notices of Intent to Deny
In the last 24 hours, USCIS announced a policy of flexibility for responses to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). In order to help people who must respond to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs), USCIS has announced that applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, responses may be submitted up to 60 days after the response deadline stated in RFE or NOID and still be considered.
USCIS Confirms it will Continue to Process I-765 Employment Authorization Extensions
USCIS also has confirmed that although biometric appointments will be postponed and rescheduled, it will reuse previously submitted biometrics for I-765 extension/renewal requests while Application Support Centers (ASCs) are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus, anyone who was previously issued an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD” or “work permit”) and files an I-765 will have their application processed even though they cannot appear for a biometrics appointment at this time. USCIS will continue to do this until ASCs reopen.
What is Karam Immigration Law doing to assist the immigrant community during this difficult time?
At Karam Immigration Law, we understand how important it is to do the best we can to assist our immigrant community during difficult times. To help you get your immigration questions answered, for a limited time, we are furthering discounting our consultation rates and encourage you to book your consultation with one of our board-certified immigration attorneys today. Please call or fill out a form by clicking the orange button below and mention this article to receive rate options. We are also applying our consultations fees towards your attorney fee if you hire us to assist you with your case. Furthermore, we are offering discounts on our attorney fees during to help you get started with your immigration case as soon as possible.
Are USCIS Filing Fees Increasing This Year?
Last year, we published a blog about USCIS Proposed Filing Fee increases. Some of the increases were substantial – for some applications, the new filing fee was almost double the old filing fee.
USCIS had published a notice about the proposed increases and asked for comments. The comment period ended in December 2019 but filing fee increases did not take effect. Then in January 2020, USCIS again requested comments from January 24th to February 10th. Since the latest comment period ended, we have been left waiting to find out what might happen with filing fees in 2020.
Can I Apply for Immigration Status During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Yes. Since we do not yet know what might happen or whether we’ll have much notice about filing fee increases, we recommend starting your immigration process as soon as possible.
To help you get your immigration questions answered, for a limited time, we are furthering discounting our consultation rates and encourage you to book your consultation with one of our board-certified immigration attorneys today.
Please call or fill out a message form by clicking the orange button below and mention this article to receive rate options. We are also applying our consultations fees towards your attorney fee if you hire us to assist you with your case. Furthermore, we are offering discounts on our attorney fees during to help you get started with your immigration case as soon as possible. Click here to ask about rates: