Both USCIS and the U.S. State Department have dramatically slowed down the services they provide the past two months. Local field offices were only accessible for emergency services. Today, however, there are some positive baby steps in the right direction to report.
At the Portland, Oregon Field Office, starting today on June 4, some non-emergency in-person services have resumed, including green card interviews. Note, however, that USCIS has not started biometrics (fingerprint) appointments back up and its Application Support Center (ASC) is still closed. The best prediction is that ASC services will also resume in a few weeks.
USCIS will begin sending out appointment notices for green card, naturalization, and asylum interviews. In addition, they will start re-scheduling postponed oath ceremonies for naturalization cases. If you are a client of our law firm, we will email you a scanned copy of the notice as soon as we receive it from USCIS. You should also directly receive your own notice in the mail about the new appointment time.
Like many other organizations that have to balance both safety and efficiency, USCIS is implementing a number of new safety measures to deal with Covid. Please keep the following in mind for your next visit to a USCIS field office:
Overall, these are sensible measures for USCIS to take. However, it would make sense for everyone’s safety for USCIS to handle most interviews remotely using video technology. The technology exists and we should use it. For example, it is likely impossible to have six feet of distance within the offices of USCIS officers for green card and naturalization interviews.
Since the field offices just started opening up today we have not had the chance to experience these modified procedures due to Covid. But we’ll definitely keep you updated once our attorney Erick experiences an in-person interview at the local USCIS field office.
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