The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in several recent changes that will impact immigration policy in the United States.

  1. Temporary suspension of premium processing. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 20, 2020 that premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions will be immediately suspended until further notice.
  2. USCIS closures. All USCIS offices will be closed to the public for public services until at least April 1, 2020. This includes USCIS field offices, asylum offices, application support centers, and naturalization oath ceremonies.
  3. Flexibility in submitting required signatures. USCIS will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020 and later. For forms that require an original “wet” signature, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures. Individuals or entities that submit documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature must also retain copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature.
  4. Consular office suspensions. Many consulates are suspending non-emergency visa services.
  5. Travel restrictions. Individuals who have traveled to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Ireland within the last 14 days are restricted from traveling to the U.S. This is in addition to existing travel bans from Mainland China and Iran.
    1. The following are exempt from the travel ban:
      1. U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents;
      2. Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents;
      3. Parents or legal guardians of U.S. Citizens of Lawful Permanent Residents, provided that the child is unmarried and under the age of 21;
      4. Siblings of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, provided both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
      5. Children who are under the legal custody of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents; and
      6. Other certain foreign government and health officials
    2. On April 11, 2020, officials will reassess the Coronavirus travel bans.
    3. Any travelers with valid ESTA who are subject to the travel bans and attempt to travel to the U.S. in violation of the travel ban will have their ESTA cancelled.