Are USCIS Offices Open?
“With USCIS offices reopened despite the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants should expect a similar asylum, adjustment of status, or naturalization interview to the normal one, with some procedural changes to ensure the safety of both applicants and staff.”
What are the Current Precautions Observed in Current Facilities?
- In areas of high or substantial transmission (CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View), all federal employees, contractors, and visitors must wear a mask inside federal buildings
- All federal employees, on-site contractors, and visitors must continue to follow local USCIS guidance on physical distancing and workplace protection guidance consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and agency guidance
You may not enter a USCIS facility if you have:
- COVID-19 or any symptoms of COVID-19 (according to the CDC)
- Including, but not limited to, recently developed cough, fever, difficulty breathing, new loss of smell or taste, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, congestion, sore throat, or vomiting (this list does not include all symptoms)
- Been in close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with anyone known to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days (unless you are fully vaccinated,* or you are a health care worker and consistently wear an N95 respirator and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or equivalent when in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals)
- Returned from domestic, international, or cruise ship travel in the past 10 days (unless you are fully vaccinated)
- Been instructed by a health care provider, public health authority, or government entity to self-isolate or self-quarantine in the past 14 days (unless you have been cleared to end isolation or quarantine)
What if I am Fully Vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since you received your second dose in a two-dose series or at least two weeks since you received a single-dose vaccine.
How to Reschedule the Appointment?
If you need to reschedule your appointment, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). To reschedule your appointment with an asylum office, please follow the instructions in your interview notice.
You may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes before your appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
Day of the Appointment
- USCIS will provide hand sanitizer at entry points
- If face coverings are required at the office that you are visiting and you do not have an acceptable one, USCIS may offer a replacement
- There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; you should pay close attention to these signs to ensure you and others can follow social distancing guidelines
- You may have to answer health screening questions before entering a facility
- USCIS encourages you to bring your own black or blue ink pens
- Appointment notices will include more instructions for visiting USCIS facilities
- For more information, see the USCIS Visitor Policy page
To protect the USCIS workforce and the public from exposure to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), USCIS require all applicants, petitioners, and visitors to wear face coverings that cover both the mouth and nose while in a USCIS office located in a high or substantial transmission area
The CDC also provides measures for selecting and wearing face coverings
Steps Taken by USCIS To Mitigate Risk
- Due to potential safety risks, USCIS does not allow neck gaiters, bandanas, or masks with exhaust valves to be used as face coverings
- If you appear at a USCIS office without an acceptable face covering, we may offer you a replacement mask or ask you to reschedule your appointment
- USCIS reserve the right to deny entry to anyone who does not wear an acceptable face covering
- USCIS staff may direct you to briefly remove your face covering to confirm your identity or take your photograph
Please follow the instructions included in your appointment notice, including for your scheduled appointment at the designated date and time
- Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing
- Follow USCIS signs or instructions to maintain social distancing during screening and while in USCIS space
Who Else can be Allowed in With the Applicant?
To limit the number of people in the waiting room, applicants with scheduled appointments may only be accompanied by:
- An attorney
- An interpreter (if permitted under specific guidance regarding interpreters for affirmative asylum interviews)
- A parent, legal guardian, or a trusted adult if the applicant being interviewed is a minor
- Immediate family members listed as dependents on the application or interview notice
- An individual assisting a disabled person
What About Attorney Representation at USCIS Interviews During Pandemic?
- Your attorney will be able to accompany you to the interview
- The exception is asylum interviews where owing to the length of the interview, USCIS will keep you, your attorney, the asylum officer, and your interpreter if any, in separate rooms or at the end of a phone line, connected only via technology
What About the Interpreter?
Another temporary rule requires you to use a DHS interpreter rather than bringing your own, unless your language is not one of the 47 listed on the “GSA Schedule.” You will communicate using iPads, on the video.
Who Can or Should Accompany You to an Asylum Interview?
- If your spouse or children under the age of 21 were included in (and named on) your asylum application, they must accompany you to the interview
- They should also bring original copies of their own (1) identity documents, (2) documents showing their relationship to you (such as birth or marriage certificates), and (3) any other documents supporting their asylum application
- Please bring any identity documents you have for your children, including passports, birth certificates or national identity cards
- After identifying each of your children, the officer will most likely suggest that they wait for you in the waiting room
- For that reason, it’s a good idea to bring a friend with you, who can either take the children for a walk or wait with them
- You are allowed to bring witnesses to the Asylum Office
- Consider doing so if the person can testify about the harm you suffered or fear, or about other important parts of your asylum claim
- Witnesses can be any age and can be in the United States with or without lawful immigration status
- Witnesses can be family members or anyone who has firsthand knowledge of the story
- The only people who cannot be witnesses are interpreters and representatives that the applicant brings to the asylum interview
What Can you Expect When Entering the USCIS Office?
- You should not try to enter the USCIS office more than 15 minutes before your interview time
- A security officer should be outside of the office and will call in applicants 15 minutes before their interview time
- There might be markers outside, showing where you should wait, spaced out from other applicants
- Be sure to maintain the required six feet of space between you and other applicants in any case
- Also, be sure to follow the specific instructions of the security officer, as you might not be able to enter the building if there are too many other people waiting to enter through the security line
- A bottle of sanitizer might be available, in which case you will be expected to use a squirt of it to rub onto your hands
- After you enter through security, keep moving to check in with a USCIS officer with your appointment notice
- After you check-in, the officer will tell you where to go to the waiting area. In the waiting area you will likely notice that seats are spaced out
- Sit more than six feet away from any other people, and try to maintain this distance when moving around
Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for updates
For the latest information on the status of an office, visit uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings.
To find Your local USCIS office, please visit the following links:
- Field Offices(within the United States) handle scheduled interviews on non-asylum-related applications. They also provide limited information and applicant services that supplement those we provide through our website and by phone.
- Asylum Offices handle scheduled interviews for asylum-related issues only
- International Offices provide services to U.S. Citizens, permanent residents of the U.S. and certain other persons who are visiting or residing outside the United States who need assistance in immigration matters.
Other USCIS Offices include:
- Administrative Appeals Office decides appeals of certain denied benefits
- Application Support Centers provide fingerprinting and related services
- National Records Center receives and processes FOIA requests
- Service Centers and our National Benefits Center receive and process a large variety of applications and petitions
Consider hiring an experienced immigration attorney to assist you during the interview process. Especially, if you are applying for asylum.
You can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys, or
Schedule a Consultation 469-994-9407 to discuss your options.