As the world continues to deal with Covid-19 and it’s many different phases, this issue also affects U.S. immigration and the ability for the USCIS to properly schedule and conduct green card interviews. Before the pandemic, there were little regulations related to in-person appointments, and so long as the applicant was not ill, they could easily come in for a sit down with a USCIS officer.
However, safety precautions, protocol, and abiding by CDC rules and policies, the USCIS has taken a more serious approach in how they conduct green card interviews now for the safety of government staff and also for immigrant clients as well. USCIS offices are federal buildings, so abiding by the rules prior to, and during your green card interview, is definitely something to consider.
Rules that Remain in Place
Right now, if you are applying for a green card and are scheduled for an interview at a USCIS field office, you are already vaccinated or have most likely received both doses of an authorized vaccine prior to your appointment. It’s important to note that the USCIS has adopted this rule and it is currently in effect. You might be asked during your green card interview if you completed both doses of your Covid-19 vaccination. Failure to receive both doses before an interview could delay your case and add months of wait time if you aren’t vaccinated.
In addition, if you travel outside of the United States before your interview, or have even taken a domestic trip within the previous 10 days of your green card interview, this might also create some complications for your interview. The USCIS officer will question you as to whether you quarantined upon returning, and lying to an officer is never good for the sake of a pending application. In general, it’s best not to travel in the immediate period before your interview.
You must also reschedule, or request to reschedule a green card interview if you have tested positive for Covid-19. Even though the CDC recently noted that five days of recovery time is enough for returning back to an office, the USCIS has its own 14 day policy that is inflexible. This means that if you tested positive 13 days ago, you will still be asked to reschedule your green card interview. In addition, if you have been exposed to someone who also tested positive within a 14 day period, you will also have to reschedule.
The USCIS handles all rescheduling, and will alert green card applicants either via mail or email. Finally, applicants should know that lying to an immigration officer about testing positive, even if it’s a mild case, could jeopardize your entire green card application. It’s best to simply wait for a new interview date instead of taking this risk.