Despite temporary closure of some local offices and threats of a shutdown of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a result of an agency budget shortfall, adjudication of temporary and permanent applications and petitions continue, albeit with slower processing times across the board. The agency has also extended deadlines in some limited instances such as in connection with responses to Requests for Evidence. Similarly, visa services are continuing at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide, although visa appointments may be significantly delayed or unavailable due to the travel limitations described in more detail below. Immigration related filings and services with the U.S. Department of Labor are continuing uninterrupted as many of those operations occur electronically.
Numerous U.S. Presidential Proclamations, as well as countless local, state / provincial and federal travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines continue to impact global travel. Travelers are highly encouraged to closely monitor such restrictions taking into account citizenship(s), regular place of residence, the requirements and limitations on entry to their destination and the requirements and limitations on return to their originating destination. Exceptions are available but vary widely depending on the source of the travel restriction and practical application at various ports of entry. In response to recent litigation, new U.S. Department of State guidance is expected on the Presidential Proclamation restricting travel for H and L visa holders. Please monitor our COVID-19 Resource Center for updates on this and related travel and immigration matters. Global travelers are strongly encouraged to seek counsel prior to any international travel.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended its limited flexibility on virtual completion of I-9 employment verification. Such relief is very limited and includes a number of post-completion requirements from the normal collection and review of original documents. Details can be found in our article here.
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