USCIS Offices Set to Reopen June 4

Agency still in need of funding, considering staff furloughs

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 1, 2020
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USCIS office

​U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to reopen its offices and resume in-person appointments and interviews June 4.

The agency's offices have been closed to in-person services since March 18 as a protective measure during the coronavirus pandemic.

USCIS said that as offices begin to reopen, the number of appointments and interviews will be reduced to comply with social distancing guidelines, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy. Applicants and petitioners with previously scheduled appointments and interviews that were canceled due to office closures will receive notices in the mail with rescheduled meeting times.

Visitors are limited to the applicant, one representative, one family member and one individual providing disability accommodations. The applicant should arrange to have his or her interpreter available by phone.

Those attending appointments should adhere to the following safety guidelines:

  • If feeling sick, do not go to the appointment. Follow the instructions on the notice to reschedule it instead. There is no penalty for rescheduling an appointment if sick. Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing; have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or have been directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
  • Do not arrive at the office more than 15 minutes prior to the appointment.
  • Wear a facial covering.
  • Bring your own black or blue ink pens.

Lack of Funds

The agency's planned reopening coincides with pleas for help. Primarily funded by application fees, USCIS faces a budget shortfall due to the pandemic and expects to run out of funding this summer. It's estimated that revenue from application and petition fees will drop by approximately 61 percent through the end of fiscal year 2020.

The agency proposed a 10 percent surcharge on USCIS application fees to reimburse Congress for $1.2 billion in emergency funding. Without help from Congress, USCIS "will have to take drastic actions to keep the agency afloat," the agency said, including furloughing part of its workforce in July. 

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