It's 2023 and so we understand if the term “paper filing” in our article title threw you off.
Although most industries in the United States discourage paper use, the U.S. government is decidedly still in the practice of paper.
Last year, USCIS announced plans to make all USCIS forms available for online filing, but not until the end of fiscal year 2026. At the time of that announcement USCIS offered 14 petitions to file online - it has now increased that number to 16. That's out of a whopping 103 petitions in total that are on the website.
With an average of 9.1 million petitions received every year, USCIS often tries to assess how it can make the filing process smoother, and so its latest policy alert about filing aims to help petitioners not miss filing deadlines surrounding weekends and holidays, which can result in processing delays or denials of petitions.
As a federal government agency, USCIS is not open on weekends or federal holidays, so paper petitions cannot be received on those days. To address instances where the last day of filing a benefit request or response falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday USCIS has announced a new guideline, effective immediately:
- Where the last day of a period for filing a paper-based benefit request (including the last day before a requestor's or beneficiary's birthday or the last day of a qualifying time period) falls on Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, USCIS will consider the filing to be timely if received by the end of the next business day.
- Where the last day of a period to respond by mail to a mailed Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, or Terminate falls on Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, USCIS will consider the response to be timely if received by the end of the next business day.
These types of filings with date deadlines are typically in response to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, or Terminate (NOID), or for benefit requests where filing must be done within a certain time period of an event, or by the time the requestor or beneficiary reaches a certain age.
USCIS considers electronically-submitted responses to be received immediately upon submission so online filings are not affected by this policy clarification.
Remember that it is always best not to wait until a deadline to file a petition, as there is always a chance of delay in the mail.
If you have questions about applying for an immigration petition 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.