UPDATE: Immigration During COVID-19 Outbreak
April 2, 2020
We would like to assure our clients and those seeking consultations that Immigrant Rep REMAINS OPEN for business during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuing to conduct telephonic client intakes, file documents by mail and online, receive and respond to all requests from our clients and government agencies, and represent our clients at court hearings, where permitted. Any in-person meetings or appearances will be postponed if possible until the conclusion of any issued “Stay at Home” orders issued by the federal government or any relevant state governments. Because safety and well-being of our clients is our primary concern, we hope that you are following CDC Guidelines and taking all the necessary precautions during this challenging time.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation, the following are some of the most crucial temporary changes currently in effect:
International Travel is severely restricted. The US Department of State has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory: DO NOT TRAVEL. This means that US Citizens are urged to return to the United States and their ability to do so is severely impacted by cancelled flights. US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are allowed to fly to the US and must go through one of 13 transit airports for screening. However, foreign nationals who are not Lawful Permanent Residents are allowed to visit the US until the travel restrictions are lifted. Click Here for more details on the travel restrictions: Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel
Routine Visa Services Suspended Worldwide: The Department of State is only conducting emergency appointments at embassies. All other visa services at consulates and embassies are temporarily suspended. Click here for more details: Suspension of Routine Visa Services
Closure of USCIS Offices: All USCIS offices are currently closed to the public, including for biometrics (fingerprint) appointments, InfoPass, and interviews for applicants and petitioners. All currently scheduled appointments will be rescheduled once the offices reopen. USCIS will continue to process applications and petitions, provide emergency services in limited situations, and provide any other services that don’t involve contact with the public. Click here for more details from USCIS: USCIS Response to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Department of Labor: The US Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certifications (OFLC) continues to process Labor Condition Applications (LCA) for H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 programs, issue prevailing wage determinations and process Applications for Permanent Labor Certifications (PERM). Certain special accommodations and extensions are being granted by the DOL in light of the hardship caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. CLICK HERE for a helpful FAQ Document from the DOL Office of Foreign Labor Certification explaining in more detail their response to the current situation.
Immigration Courts: Some immigration courts are currently open only for case filings and detained cases but are closed for non-detained cases. Several courts remain open. For the most current information regarding court closings and filing information, please CLICK HERE.
Federal District and Circuit Courts: Courts are making various adjustments to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures have included closing courthouses, restricting courthouse access to only judges, court staff, members of the media, and visitors who have official court business, continuing (postponing) trials, cancelling non-case related activities, and rescheduling or permitting videoconferencing of oral arguments. Paul Hastings created a very helpful and regularly updated page with information regarding what adjustments each court is making: U.S. Court Closings, Cancellations and Restrictions Due to COVID-19.
The information above is current as of 04/02/2020 and is subject to change. Please consult the web sites of the relevant government agencies for the most current updates. Please do not hesitate to contacts us if you have any questions regarding the current situation with COVID-19 and any other immigration-related matters at the following:
For Attorney Joshua Effron, Esq:
Phone: +1 (310) 427-7705
For Attorney Alexander Voschinsky, Esq:
Phone: +1 (310) 986-6073