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USCIS Extends Deadlines to Respond to Certain Agency Requests or Challenge Unfavorable Decisions

In March 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it was temporarily extending the period for applicants to respond to certain requests for evidence, or to appeal unfavorable decisions. 

Generally, when USCIS issues a request for evidence, the applicant or petitioner has up to three months to respond.  When challenging a denial, the applicant or petitioner generally has 30 days to lodge a motion to reopen, motion to reconsider, or appeal, as applicable.  However, COVID-19 closures at all levels (private and public) caused applicants and petitioners difficulties in obtaining documents needed to respond to USCIS requests, or otherwise needed to challenge an unfavorable decision.  Therefore, USCIS provided an extension to respond to notices or challenge decisions issued between March 1 and May 1, 2020. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, USCIS proceeded to renew the extension.  The most recent extension was announced on September 11, 2020 and it applies to agency requests or decisions issued from March 1, 2020 to and including January 1, 2021. 

USCIS is providing a 60-day extension from the due date, when responding to the following agency 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 and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant

USCIS is providing a 60-day period from the date of the original decision, when pursuing one of the following actions:

  • Filing date requirements for Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA); or
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Despite these announcements, USCIS can still take action on an application without allowing the additional time to respond.  Therefore, we strongly recommend that, where possible, applicants submit a complete response to any request or notice from USCIS by the original deadline specified in the notice, and avoid having to rely on the extension.

We will continue to monitor all changes to immigration policy and procedures related to COVID-19 and will provide updates as needed.  For any questions regarding immigration benefits or applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at (608) 252-9291 or rvo@dewittllp.com.

About the Author

Raluca Vais-Ottosen has assisted numerous clients with Immigration matters ranging from family-based and individual Immigration applications, to employment related visas and I-9 employment eligibility verification issues. In addition to her Immigration practice, she also has an extensive background in Employment Law. She assists companies in a number of areas, including but not limited to claims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, termination and constructive discharge, workplace investigations by State and Federal agencies, as well as Employment Litigation.

Contact Luca by email or by phone at (608) 252-9291.

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