Frequently Asked Questions March 2020 Part-I Re: Current Pandemic COVID-19 Impact on U.S. Immigration Status

  1. How do I know if my Immigration Court hearing is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has not issued a consistent standing order to close all immigration courts. Instead, it is important to ask your immigration attorney to check pg. 234 of the Immigration Court practice manual to determine if the hearing is cancelled, or if the immigration court hearing will allow you and your lawyer to be present telephonically instead of in person. In our lawyers experience to date, detained clients awaiting bond hearings have been moving forward without delay to avoid clients from remaining detained unnecessarily.

2. My company has furloughed me while in H-1B status, does this mean my immigration status is in jeopardy? 

Maintenance of H-1B status will be maintained as long as the employer continues to pay employees that are furloughed.

3. If I have been laid off and I am not yet a U.S. Permanent Resident am I eligible to collect unemployment insurance?

It depends, if your employer has paid into the State plan. You must consult with an Immigration lawyer who is experienced in employment law as well. Collecting unemployment may not be relevant for purposes of  being considered a  “public charge” pursuant to strict federal regulations. Ultimately, to apply for unemployment benefits, a valid EAD work permit is required.  Also, TPS and DACA recipients who have not filed for adjustment of status should not proceed to collect unemployment benefits without consulting with an immigration attorney.

4. What Should I do? My U.S. visa is set to expire, and I am ready to leave the United States, but I’m caught in the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot leave. Do I have to file an extension with USCIS?

Yes. While U.S. Immigration laws allows for an individual on a B-1/B-2 visa to later argue why they overstayed their visa, the U.S. Consulate abroad may still deny reentry. It can get complicated for a temporary visitor to reenter the United States in the future. Rather, our lawyers here at Scott &LeeCC Law Firm, are actively renewing visas in advance of expiration to ensure future travel to the United States will be hassle free with little to no risk of denial for reentry after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed over.

We invite you to contact our Immigration lawyers by emailing info@vasselllawgroup.com or call us at (703) 966.0907 offer an initial free 20 min video and in-office consultation.