USCIS Ends Pandemic-Related Extensions to Deadlines for Agency Requests

USCIS (Designed by Freepik)
April 4, 2023

On March 23, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the termination of a temporary policy. The agency introduced this policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing petitioners and applicants additional time to respond to agency notices.

The end of this policy means employers and their foreign national workers must adjust to tighter deadlines when responding to agency notices and requests. In March 2020, the USCIS instituted a temporary policy giving petitioners and applicants 60 extra calendar days to respond to requests or notices past the listed due date. Such requests and notices include the following:

  • “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.”

The USCIS repeatedly extended these flexibilities to accommodate the continued pandemic’s effects. However, upon the last extension, which extended the policy through March 23, 2023, the USCIS announced it would not extend it again. As no “unforeseen” pandemic-related challenges have arisen, the agency has chosen to end the policy rather than issue an additional extension.

Petitioners and applicants must respond to notices and requests by the listed due date. However, notices issued before March 23, 2023, will maintain the benefit of the previous policy. After this date, affected parties must comply with the specific deadlines in the notice, request, or form. Examples of the forms include the Notice of Appeal or Motion (Form I-290B) and the Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Form N-336).

In the notice, the USCIS also reminded all parties that the reproduced signature policy it introduced as temporary has since become permanent. Under this policy, the agency will accept any benefit forms or documents with an electronically reproduced signature. For example, this policy allows employers to use scanned, faxed, photocopied, or other electronically reproduced documents.

However, this policy has a few limitations. For example, the copy must still be an original version of the document that bears a physical, handwritten signature. Employers must also retain the original document. This requirement is because the USCIS may request to view this original copy anytime.

As these changes show, policies concerning the hiring process continuously change. An example of such constant shifting includes the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. The best way to remain updated with the constantly evolving regulations is to invest in an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can guide staff to complete the procedure, ensuring accurate and uniform completion of all I-9 forms.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.