Is USCIS automatically extending filing deadline and nonimmigrant visas?
Nurses and health practitioners are working around the clock to battle the covid-19 virus and to care for our sick here in the U.S. Many of these nurses and health practitioners are foreign nationals working in the U.S. with non immigrant visas. If these foreign nationals find themselves in a situation where they must renew their visas in order to remain here legally and work legally in the U.S. then they are need of immigration attorneys to file petitions to extend their current status. With the shelter in place orders and shut down of non essential businesses, many immigration attorneys find themselves in a tough predicament - violate the shelter in place orders to adequately and competently represent their clients in order to properly file their visa applications or stay at home and place their clients in jeopardy of falling out of status and/or working in the U.S. without status which would then place these foreign nationals in a position where they are likely unable to obtain nonimmigrant status in the future or have their cases denied on account of improperly filed cases due to the lack of needed supporting documents - many of which are unable to be obtained on account of the non essential business shutdown.
For this reason, AILA has asked USCIS to toll filing deadlines and maintain nonimmigrant status of foreign nationals legally admitted to the U.S. until the orders are lifted and non essential business are able to go back to work as normal. To date, USCIS has not done this. AILA has therefore filed suit in federal court asking the judge to toll filing deadlines and maintain nonimmigrant status of lawfully admitted foreign nationals in the U.S. until the orders are lifted. AILA hopes the lawsuit will motivate USCIS to put a freeze to its system until the orders are lifted or have the judge step in to do so.
We will see how this plays out as the case goes through its proper channels.
If you have any questions regarding your status here in the U.S. please do not hesitate to contact our Office.