On July 25, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an extension of flexibility periods for responding to USCIS requests and for filing forms I-290B and N-336 through October 23, 2022.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, USCIS extended certain flexibilities to help applicants, petitioners, and requestors. In March 2022, USCIS announced that it was extending the flexibilities through July 25, 2022, and that this would likely be the final extension of these flexibilities. USCIS has now stated that it will consider a response received within sixty calendar days after the due date set forth in the following requests or notices before taking any action, if the issuance date on the request or notice is between March 1, 2020, and October 23, 2022, inclusive:
- 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
- Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant
USCIS also “will 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 [Immigration and Nationality Act]),” if:
- the form was filed up to ninety calendar days from the issuance of a USCIS decision; and
- the agency made the decision between November 1, 2021, and October 23, 2022, inclusive.
Permanent Extension for Electronically Reproduced Original Signature Policy
In an unexpected move, USCIS also announced that it is permanently extending the electronically reproduced original signature policy announced in March 2020. According to the earlier announcement, under this policy, USCIS “will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures.” This means that “a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced[,] provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature, unless otherwise specified.” USCIS stated that applicants, petitioners, and/or requestors submitting documents bearing reproduced original signatures “must also retain copies of the original documents containing the ‘wet’ signature [because] USCIS may, at any time, may request the original documents, which if not produced, could negatively impact the adjudication of the immigration benefit.”
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to immigration policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.