Agency News: USCIS Fingerprinting Updates
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing selected domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4. On March 18, USCIS temporarily suspended routine in-person services at its field offices and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In anticipation of many of their fingerprint offices reopening, they have given further clarification on what to expect when entering their offices, certain protocol/requirements, have noted who can enter a site when scheduled for an appointment. Many offices are still planning for a June 4th re-opening date, but it appears they may not open all offices.
Please read the important information below extracted from the website of USCIS:
USCIS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to protect our workforce and the public. For the latest information on the status of individual offices, check our office closures page.
USCIS offices will gradually and safely resume in-person services, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines to protect our workforce and the public. USCIS offices will implement social distancing and workplace controls that prioritize the health and safety of employees and the public. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow.
As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow.
If you are feeling sick, please do not go to your appointment. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick.
Guidelines for Entering USCIS Facilities
· Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
o Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
o Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
o Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
· Visitors may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
· Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
· Members of the public must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. If they do not have one, USCIS may reschedule their appointment.
· There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors should pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
· Individuals may also have to answer health screening questions before entering a facility.
· Applicants and visitors are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens. More information on visiting USCIS facilities can be found at uscis.gov/visitorpolicy.
USCIS Visitor Policy
To protect the workforce and the public from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires all applicants, petitioners and visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings while in a USCIS office until further notice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides resources for face coverings.
You may be directed to briefly remove your face covering to confirm identity or take your photograph. USCIS reserves the right to deny entry to individuals who do not wear a face covering. 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. To limit the number of people in the waiting room, applicants with scheduled appointments may only be accompanied by:
· An attorney;
· An interpreter (in some cases, interpreters will need to be available by phone);
· A parents, 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; and
· An individual assisting a disabled person.
Rescheduling Appointments If Sick
If you are feeling sick, please do not come to the office. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick. You will not be allowed to enter the USCIS office if you:
· Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
· Have had close contact within the last 14 days with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19;
· Have been instructed by a healthcare provider or public health authority to isolate or self-quarantine within the last 14 days; or
· Refuse to wear a face covering or mask in accordance with USCIS policy. · Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for updates. For the latest information on the status of an office, visit https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings.
Application Support Center (ASC) Appointments & Rescheduling
USCIS will resume in-person processing of biometrics at certain Application Support Centers. Please check the USCIS office closings page to see if your ASC has reopened before coming to an appointment.
Individuals who appear at a date or time other than what is listed on the ASC appointment notice may encounter significant processing delays.
Applicants may only be accompanied by an interpreter, attorney, parent/legal guardian of a minor or individual providing assistance to a disabled person.
Full details of all of the variables with USCIS are located here on their website: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-covid-19
We are hopeful that with this announcement, many families who are currently waiting on fingerprint appointments will begin to receive those and be scheduled in June and beyond allowing their final steps to approve their I-800A applications.