What happens to my immigration case during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2020 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

On April 24, 2020, USCIS announced that they were extending their temporary closure date until June 3, 2020. As of  June 4, 2020, USCIS is open to continue with interviews and to allow visits to their immigration offices.

USCIS is the immigration office that reviews applications of those seeking their U.S legal permanent residence card (also known as a “green card”) via a family petition, U-Visa, VAWA, Asylum or U.S citizenship. Typically, they hold in person interviews and exams with the applicant in order to determine if they will obtain their U.S legal permanent residence card or U.S citizenship.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, USCIS announced on March 18, 2020 that they cancelled all interviews and visits to the USCIS immigration offices to protect everyone’s health and safety. Previously, they had announced that they would temporarily close until April 1, 2020 but then they extended their date to June 3, 2020. As of June 4, 2020, USCIS immigration offices have opened for interviews and office visits.

You may ask yourself, “well what does that mean for my immigration case?” “Is it on pause or on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus?” To answer this question, no, your case is not put on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Immigration officers are still working and continue to review your application. Therefore, you may still continue working with your attorney to submit your application and if you don’t have an attorney and would like to begin an immigration case, please don’t hesitate and contact one of our Franco Law Group attorneys at 213.200.1505.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

How long does it take to apply for a U.S Residency application (green card)?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office or service center that receives your residency application.

To check current processing times for residency (green card) applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

You will need the following:

  1. Case Type (Ex., I-485, I-130, I-90, etc.)
  2. Field Office or Service Center (located on your receipt from immigration)
 How long does it take to receive a decision for my U-Visa?

Currently it takes about 5 years to receive a decision. As of today, August 14, 2020, USCIS service centers in Nebraska and Vermont are reviewing U-Visa applications submitted on December 10, 2015.

To check current processing times for your U-Visa application please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

How long does it take to apply for U.S Citizenship?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office that receives your naturalization/citizenship application.

For example, as of today, August 14, 2020, the processing time for the Los Angeles field office ranges from 12.5 to 18.5 months. The Los Angeles County field office ranges from 13 to 16 months.

To check current processing times for naturalization/citizenship applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

 

USCIS Resources

Using the following links you are able to:

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) aka “Immigration Court”

On March 13, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Los Angeles (also known as the “Immigration Court”) announced that they would be postponing all Master hearings as a result of the breakout of the Coronavirus. A master hearing is a preliminary hearing where you present your immigration case before an immigration judge.

Later on March 18, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review also postponed all non-detained hearings. Therefore, the only hearings that are still scheduled are for those that are detained and are presenting a case before an immigration judge in order to fight for the right to stay in the United States.

Now, if you have a case that you are fighting before the Immigration Court you may wonder if your case is put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the answer is no. Your case is still active and still being reviewed. Therefore, you should continue working with your attorney to meet any deadlines you may have to submit documents and continue working to move your case forward. If you don’t have an attorney we have an experienced team of attorneys that can help. You may contact us by commenting below or calling our office at 213.200.1505.

As of now, the Executive Office for Immigration Review is not set to open until August 24, 2020. Therefore, any hearings after August 21, 2020 are still scheduled until further notice.

Any filings due during a court closure should be filed. Filing deadlines after March 30, 2020 remain in effect subject to the discretion of the immigration judge. There is no requirement that documents be filed in person. For all courts, parties are encouraged to file by mail or by ECAS where available (EOIR).

Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

If you are an asylum seeker in Mexico and you have a case pending under the MPP program, please know that currently all hearings presently scheduled through April 22 will be rescheduled. Any individual with an MPP hearing date through April 22 should present themselves at their designated port of entry on their previously scheduled date to receive a tear sheet and hearing notice containing their new hearing dates. The Board of Immigration Appeals are still reviewing immigration cases.

 

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