Update: What our firm can do in light of closures & delays of US consular posts & USCIS offices due to COVID-19

Update: What our firm can do in light of closures & delays of US consular posts & USCIS offices due to COVID-19

What Janice Flynn & Associates can do for you during the COVID-19 pandemic

At this time our office can continue to offer our services to prepare visa applications in their entirety ahead of time so that they are ready to be filed immediately once the US Embassies and Consulates open. We continue to offer advice to those individuals who need to travel to the United States and fall under one of the exceptions. Please see our blog post about the COVID-19 US travel restrictions, FAQs Regarding Proclamation – Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose A Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus for more information about the travel restrictions and exceptions.

Our firm is actively working on the following types of cases:

  • E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa company registrations and employee applications, with the goal to submit applications and book appointments as soon as the Embassy opens again
  • Employment-based work visa petitions such as H-1B, L-1 and O-1 work-based visa categories including extensions of status for those currently in the US in E-1 or E-2 status who cannot travel outside the US
  • B-1/B-2 visas for tourism or business for those who have previous criminal convictions or have been refused entry or ESTA, with all appointments being booked once the Embassy opens
  • I-130 Petitions of Alien Relatives
  • Applications for an Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole
  • Applications to Adjust Status and Immigrant Visa applications

The US Embassies across the world including those in London, Dublin and Paris as well as the Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh, have suspended routine consular services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. American Citizen Services Units within these consular posts are still processing emergency passports for American Citizens but are not conducting appointments for Renunciation of US Citizenship or other non-emergency services.

US Embassy in London

As of March 17, 2020, the US Embassy in London has cancelled all routine non-immigrant and immigrant visa appointments and is unable to provide an exact date when they will resume. On March 23, 2020 the government of the United Kingdom announced restrictions requiring individuals to only leave their home for limited purposes such as shopping for basic necessities, medical needs, and traveling to and from work but only when absolutely necessary. Due to these restrictions, Embassy staff has been reduced and E-visa Company Registration applications are not being processed at this time, processing will resume when the Embassy opens again.

The US Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) Field Office in the US Embassy in London is continuing to process the petitions required for immediate relatives of US citizens, the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, filed through March 31, 2020 and are aiming for a 90-day processing time from the date of petition receipt. As was expected even before the COVID-19 pandemic, after March 31, 2020 the USCIS Field Office in London will close permanently. After this date, I-130 petitions must be filed directly with USCIS in the United States through the Dallas Lockbox or filed online. The only exceptions to this requirement are for US citizens who are active duty military members stationed permanently at a military base in USCIS’s London jurisdiction and who are petitioning for an immediate relative or for US citizens who are eligible to file an I-130 Relative Petition directly with the US Embassy or Consulate under exceptional circumstances. For more information please see the USCIS website.

USCIS Service Centers in the United States continue to process employment-based Forms I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers and I-129 Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker (mainly E, H, L and O visas) and, for the time being, the Premium Processing option is not available for newly filed petitions (see the USCIS announcement here). USCIS Service Centers also continue to process family-based Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (see the USCIS announcement here) and I-131 Applications for Advance Parole.

If you require assistance with a US visa or citizenship issue, please email Catherine Betancourt at catherine@flynnhodkinson.com.