COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has caused almost every nation to enact stringent national guidelines in an effort to keep their citizens healthy by preventing the transmission of the virus.
Currently, most immigration courts are still open in the United States. However, most courts are only open for filings and detained hearings. All non-detained hearings scheduled through May 1, 2020, have been postponed. The EOIR is also extending the temporary postponement of Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) hearings scheduled through Friday, May 1, 2020.
Other courts have temporarily closed (click here for additional court information from the EOIR)
Which Courts are Currently Closed?
Across the United States, there are a total of 69 immigration courts working what seems to be around the clock hearing cases regarding the immigration statuses of non-citizens. Of these 69 courts, 6 have been closed due to the coronavirus.
Here are the 10 courts which have been closed as of April 2nd, 2020:
- Conroe, TX
- Elizabeth, New Jersey
- Louisville, Kentucky
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Tucson, Arizona
- San Francisco, California (Montgomery Street only)
All courts which are not listed above are still reviewing cases each day and holding hearings, but for the time being they are only holding certain kinds of hearings.
Which Immigration Cases are Still Continuing?
Even though some immigration courts are closing for the foreseeable future, many immigration courts will still be open and hearing certain types of cases. Under the direction of the Executive Office of Immigration Review EOIR, all courts which are remaining open will only be hearing the cases of immigrants who are currently being detained by ICE and they will not be hearing cases of individuals who are not detained.
For immigrants who have court appointments but are not in custody, all appointments scheduled for anytime between March 18th and April 10th have been postponed and the court will reach out to you to and set a new date.
USCIS Response to Coronavirus
On March 18, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended all routine in-person services until at least April 1st, and all appointments that were made for a date during this time period have been postponed. This means that if you had an appointment at a USCIS office regarding visa work, a green card or even a naturalization ceremony, it has been postponed and a USCIS agent will email you to set up a new appointment at a future date.
USCIS will only be holding emergency immigration appointments, this means that you will have to meet strict criteria as well as submit an emergency appointment request. To see if you meet the criteria for an emergency appointment as well as to submit the request, visit this website.
Rescheduling an Appointment With USCIS
Due to the continuous transmission of the coronavirus, it is very likely that USCIS will continue to push back the date for routine immigration meetings to begin again. With this, the USCIS has recommended each individual who has had their appointment postponed to wait for a USCIS agent to reach out and set up their new appointment.
If you had your appointment with the USCIS postponed due to the coronavirus, now is a great time for you to review any application documents that you will be submitting as well as to prepare for your interview questions. It is also a great time to have an experienced immigration attorney assist you and ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork and documentation as well as are prepared to answer any questions a USCIS agent will ask.
Get Help Now
The JacksonWhite immigration law team has been successfully assisting individuals navigate the complex immigration system for many years. We are familiar ins and outs of the immigration system and will work with you to ensure that your application is without error as well as to prepare you for your interviews. Contact us today to set up your appointment.