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Changes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Due to COVID-19

USCIS form and flag

Like most of the country, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has taken measures to protect employees and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, application support centers have experienced delays and processing times are subject to change due to high demand. Plans to reopen application support centers are in progress as they make efforts to improve applicants' safety and efficiency.

Application Backlog

Restrictions due to COVID-19 have affected postal service volume and, along with an increase in filings, there are delays in filing approval.

Applications submitted to USCIS lockbox facilities are delayed, but these delays will not affect the receipt date.

Different form types are experiencing varying delays. It is important to check the status of your case online because you may not receive a receipt in the mail due to the postal service backlog. Read further to find out more about your virtual options during COVID-19.

Application Support Center Changes

Currently, the USCIS has suspended in-person services to avoid the spread of COVID-19 to applicants and personnel. As a result, application support centers canceled over 280,000 appointments, and not all canceled appointments were rescheduled.

Between March and June 2020, the USCIS invested in safety measures like screens and social distancing in over 132 support center locations. However, Support Centers have shut down sporadically since the summer due to local stay-at-home orders and restrictions. To find out if a USCIS Application Support Center near you had been closed or if they have adjusted hours, visit the USCIS website for updates.

Immigrants who are unable to file due to COVID-19 can use any of several virtual options. You can create a USCIS online account to help you file virtually and receive updates on your application status.

There are easily accessible options for filing popular forms like:

  • N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

If you already have a USCIS account and need to check the status of a pending application, you can enter your receipt number here. There are helpful tips and online tools available to help you set up an account, file online, and check your case status. Direct any questions you may have about a form or process to the USCIS Contact Center, or consult a lawyer to be sure your case is filed correctly.

Biometrics Appointments

Individuals who need biometric appointments will be scheduled based on the prioritization of benefit types. For those unaware of biometric requirements, the USCIS requires fingerprinting, photo identification, and digital signature to build an FBI identification record and evaluate if immigrants have a criminal record. Biometrics services have experienced delays and cancellations due to COVID-19, and you may need to reschedule your appointment. Wait times are not consistent and depend on your location. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 restrictions, walk-in biometric appointments are not available. You can find out more information about appointment changes and virtual requirements for sick applicants here.

Helping You Navigate the Immigration Process During COVID-19

The immigration process is incredibly complicated and often very frustrating. COVID-19 restrictions have added further complications that you likely have questions about.

Verma Law Firm has over two decades of experience helping immigrants achieve their goals. We understand that problems arise during immigration, and that is why we work hard to provide personalized service in one-on-one consultation sessions. Our award-winning team offers tireless advocacy for our clients. Let us help you achieve your American dream today.

Call us at (408) 560-4622 or visit Verma Law Firm online to schedule a consultation.


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