To our Clients, Colleagues and Friends,
Our hope is that this email finds you, your colleagues, and your families and friends in the best of health at this time of worldwide pandemic. We know that many of you are experiencing challenges, both in your businesses and in your daily lives. We want you to know that we are here to help. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on Scott Legal’s ongoing responses to COVID-19 and the impact of this Virus on immigration processing.
Our firm’s preparedness plan ensures that our existing and new clients can continue to rely on us for legal services while also being cognizant of the COVID-19 threat. On Monday March 16th, we transitioned all staff to work remotely, and going forward all team members will be working remotely on secure, firm-issued and firm-monitored computer equipment. We believe this step is in the best interests of our employees and our clients.
As the situation is quickly changing, it is impossible to predict how long this will continue. However, we are prepared to serve clients remotely for an extended period. We do not anticipate interruptions in the service you are accustomed to receiving, and our teams are continuing to work diligently to meet deadlines and to deliver the high level of service you expect from us.
Please note the following regarding our operations during this time:
- The methods of reaching us remain the same – our email addresses and phone numbers have not changed. That being said, the preferred method of communication is through email.
- We will hold telephonic or Skype calls rather than in-person meetings.
- Given the recent mandate in New York state regarding restrictions of movement, our office will temporarily be unable to receive hard copy mail. It is our hope that these restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks and we will monitor this closely and utilize online systems when possible to track the status of cases. If you have submitted something to the government and are expecting a notice from them, please check your mail.
- In some cases, we may have to come up with innovative solutions regarding mailing petitions given the remote work locations and restrictions on movement. We will work with each client based on their particular circumstances to move things forward with their cases.
- We request that you pay any invoices though wire or credit card rather than sending a check.
- We remain committed to delivering outstanding client services and during this period, for existing clients, we will waive all fees related to discussions of strategy related to the virus and your case.
Please note the following regarding Government operations during this time:
- USCIS is still receiving applications and will accept scanned copies of signatures for all applications. Premium processing is not currently available for any I-129 or I-140 petitions
- At present, the U.S. government has not announced any shift in filing deadlines or requirements that relate to immigration, with a limited exception for the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA).
- ESTA exceptions are being granted so please contact us if you require additional information.
- While filing deadlines have not yet been extended, there are often options that involve extending or changing status that could apply in your case. Please reach out to us and we can explore these options.
- Many consulates have suspended routine visa processing services and are cancelling appointments.
- Some immigration courts have closed and USCIS has eliminated almost all in person meetings. (eg. biometrics, interviews, etc.)
- Many borders across the globe are closing and this is expected to continue. It is very likely that the U.S. will also completely close the border until this situation shows improvement.
- You should expect delays in processing across the board.
We understand that this is a particularly challenging time for employers, families and individuals who have a need for immigration support. Timely and informed immigration counsel is especially important in these dynamic and ever-changing times. Please reach out if we can be of assistance.
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