U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended the temporary closure of its offices across the country.
USCIS closed down its offices on March 18, as part of the social distancing measures to try and combat the spread of the COVID-19. The closure has now been extended until at least May 3, 2020, reports VisaGuide.World. According to the announcement, work is scheduled to resume on May 4.
Originally, the offices were supposed to open on April 7.
The announcement on the USCIS official website reads:
“On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS offices will begin to reopen on May 4 unless the public closures are extended further. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public.”
The office will notify applicants whose appointments had to be rescheduled due to the closure, including asylum applicants and those with impending naturalization ceremonies.
As part of the coronavirus measures the US government has taken, citizens have been asked to practice social distancing and remain home. Some states have closed down non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants and cinemas. Food markets and pharmacies are allowed to stay open.
Schools have been closed, some to the end of the school year, with classes to continue online and many companies have resorted to working from home.
The US Bureau of Consular Affairs has offered visas to medical practitioners abroad to come help with the sudden outbreak of the pandemic in the US.
The number of coronavirus infections in the US has seen a drastic increase, shooting up from less than 5,000 to over 180,000 in the last two weeks. At the moment, the US is the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world.