UPDATE: USCIS Cancels Planned Employee Furloughs & Discussion of Interview Waivers at Embassies Abroad

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides new updates regarding previously planned furloughs by the United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as the expansion of interview waiver eligibility for certain visa applications at United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide.

For more information on these important topics please keep on watching.


USCIS Cancels Planned Furloughs

We have great news for our readers. Recently, USCIS announced that it will cancel the agency’s planned furlough of more than 13,000 employees, which was scheduled to take place on August 30, 2020, to help the agency meet its budget quotas and ensure operational capacity.

On August 25th USCIS made the announcement stating that as of now the agency is able to maintain its operations through the end of fiscal year 2020.

What does this mean for applicants?

While the cancellation of these planned furloughs is certainly good news for the American workforce, USCIS has made clear that delays will continue for the foreseeable future, including an increase in backlogs and wait times across the board. USCIS has specifically stated that there is no guarantee that the agency can avoid future furloughs. The only mechanism that will safeguard operations is additional funding from Congress to help the agency meet its operational costs through fiscal year 2021

According to USCIS, the agency has cut costs by reducing the need to work with outside contractors who have in the past assisted USCIS adjudicators to process and prepare case files, and provide support to the agency. Of course, without this additional assistance, delays will continue to be expected.

Applicants can expect increased wait times for pending case inquiries made with the USCIS Contact Center, longer case processing times, and increased adjudication time for aliens who have filed an adjustment of status application or naturalization application.

Naturalization oath ceremonies will continue to be scheduled as before during this pandemic.

USCIS has urged Congress to create a lasting solution that will help USCIS meet its long-term obligations.

Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility at U.S. Embassies and Consulates

On August 25th the Department of State announced that certain nonimmigrant visa applicants may apply for an interview waiver until December 31, 2020.

From August 25th until December 31st consular officers have the discretionary power to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying for a non-immigrant visa in the same classification.

In the past, interview waivers were only available for applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 12 months. DOS is now temporarily extending their policy for applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expires within 24 months.

How can I take advantage of this waiver?

Nonimmigrant visa applicants must review the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for eligibility information and instructions on applying for a visa without an interview.

Applicants are also encouraged to contact the particular U.S. Embassy or Consulate for inquiry on the interview waiver process and making reference to the DOS announcement.

Where can I read more about this announcement?

For the complete DOS announcement on expansion of interview waiver eligibility please click here.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text or call 619-569-1768.


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