Have you wondered whether we're still in a pandemic, or whether things have returned to normal? It seems it depends on what industry you're in.
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is still firmly acting like the pandemic is in full swing - which can have both positive and negative effects for USCIS applicants.
For example, if you have passed your citizenship interview and are scheduled for a naturalization ceremony, as of the last two years you can't have anyone there to celebrate with you [with exceptions for minors and the disabled]. But a recent announcement from USCIS on extensions due to the pandemic is welcome news.
The announcement states that through October 23, 2022, USCIS will extend their Covid-19-related “flexibilities” for certain documents by considering responses received up to 60 calendar days after the due date, if the notice or request was issued between March 1, 2020 and October 23, 2022. This essentially means that USCIS will not take any action on a request or notice until 60 calendar days after the due date.
The extensions only apply to the following notices or requests:
- Requests for Evidence;
- Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
- Notices of Intent to Deny;
- Notices of Intent to Revoke;
- Notices of Intent to Rescind;
- Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers;
- Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
- Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.
USCIS will also consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:
- The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision we made; and
- USCIS made that decision between Nov. 1, 2021, and Oct. 23, 2022, inclusive.
This news is beneficial for many reasons - the obvious one being that it gives petitioners and attorneys more time to respond to a request - but the other being that it gives a little more room for preparation when current mail delivery has often been taking longer than pre-pandemic delivery, and mail delays seem to be the new normal.
In addition to the extensions announcement, USCIS also said that it will make permanent the signature exception that was made at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. This means that USCIS will continue to accept reproduced original (not electronic) signatures on documents.
If you have questions about obtaining immigration help please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.