USCIS Implements New Visitor Policy Due to COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS offices remained closed for several months. As they start to open, certain policies are being put into place until further notice in order to protect the public and workers from exposure to the virus. Continue reading below to learn more about these policies.What Is the USCIS Visitor Policy?
All applicants, petitioners, and visitors to USCIS offices over the age of two years old are required to wear face coverings. They may be directed to briefly remove the covering to confirm their identity or take a photograph. It is important to note that all USCIS offices have the right to deny entry to anyone who is not wearing a face covering.
While these are required, they are not a replacement for social distancing. All visitors must follow the signs and instructions posted in USCIS offices to stay socially distant. In order to limit the number of people in waiting rooms, applicants can only bring the following individuals to their appointment:
- An attorney
- Interpreters (sometimes need to be available by the phone)
- A parent, legal guardian, or trusted adult if the applicant is a minor
- Immediate family members who are listed as dependents on the application or interview notice
- An individual assisting a disabled person
As of now, USCIS cannot let guests come to naturalization ceremonies. The ceremonies will limit attendees to those who will be naturalized as well as anyone providing assistance to disabled individuals. Face coverings will also be required during these ceremonies, even if it is held outside.Can I Reschedule an Appointment if I’m Sick?
It is crucial to state that anyone who is feeling sick should not come to a USCIS office at any point. They will receive an appointment notice with instructions on how their appointment can be rescheduled for a later date when they are healthy. This can be done without penalty. Visitors will not be allowed to enter a USCIS office if:
- They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- They had close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- They have been instructed by a healthcare provider or public health authority to isolate or self-quarantine within the last 14 days
- They refuse to wear a face covering or mask
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