04 Apr 2023 USCIS Ends COVID Extensions
In yet another sign that the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) announced it will end its COVID-related flexibilities, of effectively granting an extra 60 days to respond to notices or file appeals. You must now respond to any notices or requests from USCIS dated after March 23, 2023, by the actual deadline listed in the notice or request.
By way of background, in March 2020, USCIS announced that, in order to address time constraints and inconveniences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS would be flexible and give people extra time in responding to requests or notices. Accordingly, USCIS considered a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in a request or notice to be considered timely for requests or notices issued between March 1, 2020, and March 23, 2023. These included:
- Requests for evidence
- Notices of intent to deny
- Notices of intent to revoke
- Notices of intent to rescind, etc.
In addition, USCIS considered a Form I-290B (Notice of appeal or motion) or a Form N-336 (Request for hearing on a decision on naturalization proceedings) to be timely if that form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the date the decision was issued. This flexibility provided applicants with an effective extra 60 days to respond or appeal.
However, USCIS announced an end to that policy. From now on, for all notices or requests issued on or after March 23, 2023, your response or appeal must be filed by the actual due date, and if it is filed late, your case could be denied as untimely.
I have come across many requests for evidence, notices of intent to deny, etc., and they can be lengthy and confusing. Sometimes the notice has pages and pages of template or boilerplate citations of law and recitation of facts (which sometimes can be incorrect or wrong), and it is very difficult to figure out exactly what the USCIS is looking for or asking for. Sometimes, there is a single sentence buried in all those pages as to what the problem is.
If you now receive any request, notice, or denial, I would recommend that you consult with an attorney to assist in responding to or appealing your case, as the attorney will know what the law is, what the requirements are, what documents and other proof are necessary, how to make the legal arguments in your favor, and how to decipher or interpret a lengthy or confusing request or notice.
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