USCIS has always disallowed those using their services from using computers, tablets and phones in their field offices. Apparently, they are concerned about the ability of these devices to take pictures and record audio and video (of course, they record everything but that is another story). However, as attorneys are officers of the Court, they have generally allowed attorneys to use their electronic devices to take notes and refer to client documents, especially as things are moving towards electronic files these days. However, the current administration felt that this was to much leeway, so as of last week, attorney’s are also no longer allowed to use such devices at field offices, and if they try to, USCIS may end the the interview and dismiss the attorney from the office.
It is important for clients to realize as well, that when USCIS means you cannot use such devices during the interview, what they ultimately mean is to turn off all electronic devices. It is equally important to realize that the list of devices is actually quite large. It includes: cell phones, computers, tablets, smart watches, fitness devices, personal GPS devices, bluetooth devices, mobile hotspots, music players, or other wearable electronics. If your cell phone rings during the interview, they could actually stop the interview at that point and re-schedule the interview. How draconian they will be in the enforcement of this policy has yet to be seen as the change is just occurring. We will certainly update you with any new information as soon as we get it.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.