U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has had a change of heart. Instead of closing all 23 of its international field offices, as originally planned, the agency recently announced that it would keep seven offices open.
According to the latest plan, USCIS will retain the following offices:
- Beijing, China
- Guangzhou, China
- Guatemala City, Guatemala
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Nairobi, Kenya
- New Delhi, India
- San Salvador, El Salvador
The following offices are scheduled to be closed on a staggered schedule between now and August 2020:
- Accra, Ghana
- Amman, Jordan
- Athens, Greece
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Lima, Peru
- London, United Kingdom
- Monterrey, Mexico (expected to close by the end of September 2019)
- Port-au-Prince, Haiti
- Rome, Italy
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Seoul, South Korea (expected to close by the end of September 2019)
USCIS has already closed offices in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Manila, Philippines; and Moscow, Russia.
The Department of State (DOS) will assume responsibility for a number of functions, including certain in-person services that have traditionally been provided by USCIS international field offices. The workload transition to DOS is expected to be a smooth one since DOS already performs many of the same services in locations abroad where USCIS does not have field offices. The office closures are not expected to have a significant effect on employment-based immigration.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the office closures and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.