COVID-19 Flexibilities Extended through October 23, 2022
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has announced another extension of coronavirus (“COVID-19”)-related flexibilities due to the ongoing pandemic. The flexibilities, which were set to expire on July 25, 2022, have been extended through October 23, 2022 for certain receipts and notices issued between March 1, 2020 and October 23, 2023, inclusive. The extension for government responses apply to Requests for Evidence (“RFEs”), Notices of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, and Terminate proceedings, and Motions to Reopen an N-400 and USCIS will consider responses received within sixty (60) days of the indicated due date to be timely filed. USCIS has also extended consideration of certain appeals, motions, and requests for a hearing if the required forms are filed within 90 calendar days (previously 60 calendar days) from the date of decision and if the decision date was made by USCIS between November 1, 2021 and October 23, 2022. Please discuss whether the flexibilities above apply to your specific case with your immigration legal counsel.
Reproduced Signature Flexibility to Become Permanent Policy
Early in the pandemic, as government-issued quarantines and stay at home orders required companies to implement “work from home” policies, it became increasingly harder to obtain “wet ink” signatures (i.e. an original “pen on paper” signature) to file immigration proceedings. In late March of 2020, USCIS announced a temporary flexibility to accept all benefit forms and documents containing electronically reproduced “wet” signatures. This flexibility allowed filers to submit applications, petitions, and documents that contained scanned, faxed, photographed, or similarly reproduced documents containing an original handwritten signature. On July 25, 2022, USCIS permanently extended the reproduced signature flexibility “[i]n an effort to take the lessons learned from [its] pandemic posture.” As such, individuals and entities may continue to rely on these flexibilities indefinitely, but must continue to retain copies of original documents containing “wet” signatures, which may be requested at any time by USCIS and failure to produce these may negatively impact immigration proceedings.
DID YOU KNOW? The Munsch Hardt Immigration Team has helped numerous foreign investors obtain visas to enter the U.S. and develop new and existing enterprises, contributing to the substantial investment into and strengthening of the U.S. economy and providing significant immigration benefits to foreign entrepreneurs.