COVID-19 USCIS Office Closures Guidance

March 25, 2020

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USCIS announced that it is closing its offices to in-person services until at least April 7 and this includes biometrics appointments at the Application Support Centers.

In light of these announcements and a Supreme Court decision expected between now and the end of June, we strongly recommend that you consider whether to apply now even if you’d be applying “early” for renewal, meaning earlier than 150 days before your current DACA expires.

 We strongly encourage you to consult with an immigration attorney or Department of Justice-accredited legal representative to file your DACA renewal request. 

If you decide to apply, we encourage you to send your application certified (mail return receipt requested) to have proof of when your application arrived at a USCIS lockbox.

Considerations may include:

  • We can’t know for sure how USCIS’ office closures will affect the processing of DACA requests, but we expect this closure may affect the processing times for DACA renewals. You should consider submitting your application soon so it can arrive at a USCIS lockbox and begin the initial process.
  • If you apply early, USCIS could deprioritize your application and, while you’re waiting for your case to be processed, the option to renew may end. If the option to renew ends due to the Supreme Court decision, USCIS may “grandfather in” already-accepted applications and continue processing them.
  • Or USCIS may stop processing already-accepted applications and may return the application fees that were submitted with the unprocessed applications (like what happened when DACA and advance parole for DACA recipients were terminated in September 2017).
  • If you apply early and are granted DACA renewal, you should be aware that your “new” DACA may start being valid before your “old” DACA expires. In any event, your new work permit will expire two years after its date of approval.
  • The processing times listed on the USCIS website range between 4 to 36 months, depending on which service center has your case. These processing times are long but anecdotally we’ve heard that some cases still take only 3-5 months to process. Consider the possibility, then, that it might take longer for your renewal application to be processed this time than it did when you applied for renewal previously.

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