COVID-19 FAQs

Case processing with our firm during the pandemic

Yes. Although, for the safety of our client family and staff, we are working remotely, Maiorova Law Group continues to serve the needs of immigrants by taking new cases. Call us at 407-705-3345 for a consultation.

Yes. Our team is working remotely to process all the firm’s existing cases, consistent with our quality standards and any applicable deadlines. Team members are available at their usual emails, as well as by phone or video conference, to assist you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Generally, yes. We are set up to file cases. Please note, however, that based on agency closures, the government is not accepting certain applications at this time. This includes Premium Processing cases with USCIS as well as visa applications at the US consulates abroad. Please feel free to contact us with questions about filing your specific case type.

Yes. USCIS recently issued a statement confirming that individuals who received Requests for Evidence between March 1 and July 1, 2020, will be provided with an additional 60 calendar days respond. This policy also applies to Notices of Intent to Deny, Notices of Intent to Revoke, and Notices of Intent to Terminate.

For the safety of our client family and staff, and to comply with Florida’s stay-at-home order, we are not currently open for in-person appointments. However, appointments for new and existing clients are still available via telephone and Zoom/Ring Central video conferencing. To schedule an appointment, please contact our Legal Assistant, Valerie, at 407-705-3345 or info@kmimmigration.com.

We continue to accept case documents by email. Please do not send any documents to the office via mail or courier services. If you have any questions about providing documents for your case, please contact your Lead Attorney or paralegal, or call us at 407-705-3345.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, USCIS is temporarily accepting photocopies or scans of original signatures on all forms. For more information, see the USCIS announcement here.

Most cases do not require passport photos. However, if your case does, your lead paralegal will provide specific instructions for sending the passport photos to our firm.

At this time, rather than mailing checks or money orders, our clients are instructed to pay their USCIS filing fees using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction. This form can be used to process both credit and debit card payments.

Payment to our firm can be remitted by credit or debit card, over the phone or via our secure payment link. Please contact our Legal Assistant at 407-705-3345 or info@kmimmigration.com with any questions pertaining to payment of your attorney’s fee.

Case processing with the immigration agencies during the pandemic

Generally, yes.  Immigration agencies are generally open and operating remotely or with reduced staff.   However, each specific agency is operating differently as follows:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended all in-person services, including interviews, biometrics, and InfoPass appointments until at least May 3, 2020.  Limited in-person services are also being provided in emergency situations.

Immigration Court: Immigration courts remain open but are operating with reduced staff.  All non-detained hearings scheduled through May 1, 2020, have been postponed.  Hearings for detained persons are proceeding as normal, although most courts are accepting telephonic appearances for attorneys.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Remains open but is operating with reduced staff. Anyone under an order of supervision should report unless they have been notified that their appointment has been cancelled.

Customs and Border Protection: Remains open but is operating with reduced staff. Anyone under an order of supervision should report unless they have been notified that their appointment has been cancelled.

No. All in-person services have been suspended through May 3, 2020.  You do not need to appear, and you must wait for a new appointment once regular services are resumed.  You should keep in regular contact with your attorney, checking back every 30 days.  You should also confirm that you have a good address on file at all times.

Yes, probably. Immigration cases are still being accepted and immigration officers are working through various means. However, there will certainly be delays that result from COVID-19 and it is impossible to know how significant the delays will be.

Yes, but only for limited emergencies.  If you have an earnest emergency, you should consult with your attorney to determine if your situation qualifies for an InfoPass appointment.

This would strictly depend upon the nature of your emergency and is not recommended for anything less than the most severe situations.  If you encounter problems while abroad, the consulates would have limited capabilities to assist you. There are also limited returning flights to the United States and entry has been suspended for travelers from many countries who are not U.S. Citizens.  If you have a severe emergency, you should consult with your attorney.

Yes, but only for limited emergencies.  If you have an earnest emergency, you should consult with your attorney to determine if your situation qualifies for an InfoPass appointment.

Yes.  As of March 16, 2020, ICE has NOT instituted a uniform policy regarding check-in appointments.  You must contact your ICE field officer directly or contact your attorney to determine when you must check in.

COVID-19 related closures and reduced staffing at various government agencies involved in the immigration process are likely to cause additional backlogs for case processing. You should reasonably expect that the adjudication of your case will be delayed. Actual timelines will depend on the duration of stay-at-home orders, agency resources, and the number of cases received by the agency, therefore, we are unable to predict exact or approximate timelines.

Changes to conditions of employment, layoffs

This will largely depend on the specific visa or nonimmigrant status that you currently hold.  Some visas or nonimmigrant statuses may permit part-time or reduced hours.  A reduction in hours could also be considered a material change in your employment and require the filing of an amended petition.  You should consult an attorney to discuss your specific visa category.

This will largely depend on the specific visa or nonimmigrant status that you have. However, if you are in the United States on an employment-based visa, a layoff will generally prevent you from being able to maintain the conditions of your status.    Depending on the specific visa, you may be eligible for a grace period to depart the United States.  You may also need to consider a change of status or visa category if your layoff relates to COVID-19 and you are unable to depart the United States. If you are facing a layoff, you should consult with your immigration attorney regarding your specific circumstances.

Not all visa holders are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Eligibility will depend on the law of the State where you are employed. For immigration purpose, unemployment benefits are not considered a public benefit for most immigrants under the new Public Charge Rule. However, if you are in the United States on a visa that is directly tied to your employment, you should consult an attorney before making an application for unemployment benefits.

Bailout money

If you are a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and you receive the $1,200 stimulus check, there is no adverse effect on your status. Provided that you meet the other financial criteria to be a sponsor a family member, your receipt of the stimulus check would not disqualify you from executing an Affidavit of Support on behalf of that family member.  Individuals in lawful immigration status in the US who pay taxes may be eligible to receive the stimulus check. Receipt of the stimulus money is not considered a public benefit under the Public Charge rule, however, if you plan to extend your visa at a consulate abroad consult with your immigration attorney regarding possible questions about the stimulus checks during your interview.

Lawful permanent residents and US citizens can safely apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA disaster loan, or other COVID-19 disaster loan products. However, applying for these loans if you are not a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) or US citizen may have serious adverse consequences for your immigration status in the US. This is especially true for L-1 and E-2 visa/status holders, and those in the process of applying for L-1 or E-2 status or visas. If you do not have US citizenship or a green card, it is extremely important that you consult with your immigration attorney before you make any applications for COVID-19 disaster loans, the Paycheck Protection Program, or any other similar loans, grants, or other financial assistance for your business.

Miscellaneous

There is no automatic extension provision for individuals on ESTA who are unable to timely depart the US. If you are unable to timely depart the US due to the unavailability of flights or closed borders in connection with COVID-19, you should seek to have your status extended for 30 days. This requires an application with Customs and Border Control (CBP). It is recommended that you work with an attorney to submit this request. Individuals who remain beyond their authorized stay without timely filing for an extension of status may be subject to serious penalties, like arrest, detention in an immigration detention facility, deportation, and the inability to enter the US again for at least 3 years.

There is no automatic extension of status for B-1/B-2 visitors due to COVID-19. Therefore, if you are unable to depart the US prior to the expiration of your I-94 due to closed borders or the unavailability of flights, you should apply for an extension of status with USCIS prior to the expiration of your current I-94. Individuals who remain beyond their authorized stay without timely filing for an extension of status may be subject to serious penalties, like arrest, detention in an immigration detention facility, deportation, and the inability to enter the US again for at least 3 years.

To be valid for immigration purposes, a marriage must be valid under the laws of the place where it took place. Some counties governments are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not issuing marriage licenses. If you are unable to obtain a marriage license, you will not be able to legally conclude a marriage in the US. Religious marriages concluded without obtaining a marriage license and not sanctioned by the state through the issuance of a marriage certificate will not be valid for immigration purposes. If you are unable to get married and your current immigration status is expiring soon, you should discuss your situation with an immigration attorney to develop an individual legal strategy that will help minimize your risk of immigration violations and removal from the US.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has announced that driver licenses that expire on or after March 15, 2020 will be automatically renewed for up to 60 days. You can find detailed information on their website.

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