Foreign Visa Services Suspended and USCIS Offices ClosedMarch 31, 2020
On March 18, 2020, the US Department of State suspended routine visa services at all US embassies and Consulates worldwide.
At A Glance
- As of March 18, 2020, the US Department of State suspended visa services at all worldwide US embassies and consulates. Anyone who does not have a valid visa will not be able to enter the US until regular processing begins again.
- As of March 18, 2020, USCIS closed all offices to in-person services.
- Employees who need to renew their visas and are in the US may still be able to do so by contacting USCIS.
- The US Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) provided an FAQ for employers clarifying if they are required to complete a Labor Condition Application for employees on a visa now working remotely.
On March 18, 2020, the US Department of State suspended routine visa services at all US embassies and Consulates worldwide. This applies to work, study, and visitor visas processing. Anyone who does not have a valid visa in their passport will not be able to enter the US until regular processing begins again.
In addition, USCIS has closed their offices effective March 18, 2020 to the public, canceling all in-person appointments.
Employees already in the US who need to renew their status through a visa application at a US consulate may be required to extend their status with USCIS instead.
- USCIS offices are temporarily closed to the public and services are delayed.
- Employees should go to the USCIS Contact Center for assistance with emergency services.
- USCIS announced they will use previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765 requests for:
- applicants who had an appointment scheduled on or after March 18, 2020,
- or for applicants that have filed an I-765 extension.
- At this time, the temporary closure of USCIS offices has been extended until April 7, 2020.
For general question related to processing applications, audit extensions requests, official correspondence, and changes in contact information please reach out to the DOL’s OFLC ease see this FAQ provided by the DOL OFLC for contact information.
Generally, H-1B, E-3, H-1B1 employees may begin working from home or at an alternate worksite operated by the employer without filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) as long as the location is within normal commuting distance and the terms of employment remain the same.
Employers should consult with their immigration and labor/employment legal counsel for guidance on how to assist employees at this time. Employers should work with their employees on visas to review the terms of their visa to ensure workplace compliance including but not limited to, workplace posting requirements, terms and conditions of employment, and location requirements.
Additional news and resources are available on the USCIS website and in the DOL OFLC FAQ.
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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.