Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Coronavirus vs. U.S. Immigration

Here are my thoughts as of March 25th,2020, 5.30AM

“Like everyone else, I’m watching the news and then trying to figure out precisely how and the Coronavirus will impact the everyday U.S. Immigration life for our clients who have visas about to expire soon, clients whose jobs and businesses are at risk alongside other Americans, and those future clients who are wondering whether or not now is the time to get their migration visas underway.

There is certainly a lot to think about. So, I’ll do my best to share my thoughts and insights as best I can. I’ll cover what I can in this newsletter, but I’ll write more as often as I can because the situation is so fast moving.”

By Chris M. Ingram, LL.M., ESQ

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U.S. Immigration Service Centers – Where Are They Located and will They Close?
There are four Major USCIS Service or visa processing centers, and they are located in California, Nebraska, Texas and Vermont. There are others, but these are the main ones. Of these four service centers only, California is currently in a “hot zone”, meaning where there is a high incidence of the spread of the Coronavirus. As of writing this newsletter all four service centers are open, but in California, the service center is not open to the public, but we can still file cases there.
In my 16 years of experience as a U.S. Immigration Lawyer working out or California, my law firm experienced the 2009 thru 2011 recession. Although, it was very challenging, we made it through, and today we’re at least three times larger than we were back then.
As the recession took hold USCIS would relocate caseloads from one service center to the another depending on their work volume. So, we always got our cases processed. We did notice variance in the adjudication styles from one service center to the other, but we were able to successful adapt. So, my take is that should one service center be subject to a temporary shutdown, the work will be transferred to the other service centers that are unaffected. Nebraska and Vermont have very low incidents of the Coronavirus due to the very low population density there.
Visa Delays and Travel Restrictions
Some of our clients may want to leave the U.S. to go home to get their passports stamped and now find that if they leave, they cannot return. We are seeing that USCIS adapting to the various challenges that clients are facing. If this is you and you are our client, then email us so we can advise you accordingly, we cannot advise non-clients.
Some service centers are no longer insisting on us have a ‘wet’ signature and will accept a copy instead, and each day they are making other accommodations based on the prevailing circumstances.
When Texas had major flooding and business was disrupted, we saw USCIS make allowances and extend visas so clients could focus on getting back on their feet without worrying about their visas expiring. What we have to do is make sure that whatever USCIS needs from our clients in terms of the documentation requirements, we’ll work with our clients to make sure this documentation is filed as needed in a timely fashion.
We have a lot of E-2 investment clients who has been forced to close their businesses due to the virus and their businesses may not survive even if they are ultimately allowed to re-open. As I’m writing this newsletter the Senate has reached an agreement on a stimulus package that is touted as being supportive to businesses to help them keep staff on their payroll, etc. We’ll have to see whether the terms of the package will enable E-2 and other visa holders to take advantage of them without violating the conditions of their visas. For example, E-2 visa holders cannot take on major loans secured by their E-2 business. So, I’ll be looking closely at the legislation, once it is passed in a few days, to see how this stimulus could be utilized by our clients, and if I can, (I’ll do my best) I’ll post more newsletters like this one to get the word out.
How Are We Doing as a Law Firm?
So far so good, most of our staff are now working from home, it’s only been a few days, so we all adjusting to the new set up. Some clients will experience some delays, but this is due to the huge volume of inquiries we are getting from anxious clients. Please bear with us as we systematically work through our caseloads. We are indeed pushing out cases and getting some awesome approvals. I’m not saying USCIS is relaxing their adjudication standards, not at all, but it’s just great to see these approvals come through.
Forward Thinking
We are taking on a number of new cases as clients are more motivated than ever to get off their temporary work visas and get started on securing their green cards so that no matter what happens to their employment situation, by having their green card, they are fully protected from losing their immigration status altogether. So, if you are on a work visa, such as a H-1B, L-1, TN, E-2, E-3, P-1, O-1, etc., and need to find a way to secure your green card, please go to and submit an inquiry form so we can begin evaluating your potential for a green card option. Even if securing a green card will take quite a long time, the sooner you get started with us the sooner we’ll be able to have that peace of mind, even while the case is pending, at least you know you’ll have something in the works and who knows, under a new President, we might see some positive moves in improving immigration wait times etc.
Ok, that’s all for now. I’ll be posting again shortly.
We’re in this together 🙂
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Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292

Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.

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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.

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