Planning Ahead in Case of USCIS Office Closures18 Feb 2015
Snowstorms and other weather emergencies impede traffic and cause a variety of businesses to close or limit operations. And, just like private companies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must also contend with severe weather events from time to time that lead to office closures or modified schedules. Closures may also occur because of issues unrelated to weather, such as power outages or water main breaks. Individuals are advised to check for potential closures, when appropriate, before traveling for USCIS appointments.
Information on USCIS Closures
The USCIS WebSite provides up-to-date information about temporary closures or schedule changes of USCIS field offices and Application Support Centers (ASCs). In some parts of the country, an individual may need to travel a significant distance to reach the assigned USCIS field office. Thus, local problems affecting an office may not otherwise come to the individual’s attention. This makes checking ahead to verify that the office is open all the more important.
Options in Case of Field Office Closures
If a field office is forced to open later than normal, it is best to appear for one’s appointment as close to the scheduled time as possible, assuming travel conditions are safe. Applicants should be prepared to wait for extended periods of time in such situations.
If an office is closed entirely, those with InfoPass appointments will need to reschedule, per the instructions listed on the USCIS WebSite. For interviews and biometrics (i.e. fingerprint) appointments, the USCIS will automatically reschedule and notify the applicants by mail.
ASCs, which are used for biometrics appointments, may also accept applicants on a walk-in basis. If an applicant chooses to use the walk-in service to complete a biometrics requirement, s/he should bring the appointment notice for the date the office was closed and request a walk-in appointment. Applicants should be prepared to wait, however, as the ASC may be busy trying to accommodate those with regularly scheduled appointments.
Unexpected delays and closures are unavoidable, especially in the wake of severe weather events. Those scheduled to appear at USCIS field offices and/or ACSs should check online the day of the appointment to ensure the office remains opened.
Copyright © 2015, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved