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USCIS Terminates COVID-19 Accommodation on RFEs, NOIDs, Appeals, and Other Responses

The USCIS deadline extension policy that has been in place in some form since March 2020 ends today. For USCIS notices dated after March 23, petitioners and applicants will no longer have an additional 60 days to respond and will instead be required to respond by the deadline specified in the USCIS notice. Petitioners and foreign nationals will also no longer have 90 days to file a Form I-290B appeal or motion or Form N-336 hearing request to reopen a USCIS decision that is issued after March 23. The deadline will revert to the standard timeline – 30 days in most cases.

The issue

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) COVID-19 accommodation on certain agency notices terminates today, March 23, 2023. The accommodation, which was initially announced in March 2020 as a means of minimizing negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended several times. Upon the most recent extension in January 2023, USCIS announced that the January extension would likely be the last.

Notices and agency decisions – including requests for evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), among others – that are received today, March 23, are still covered by the accommodation. For notices and decisions dated on or after March 24, 2023, employers and foreign nationals will be required to respond by the deadline identified in the notice or decision correspondence.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

Employers and foreign nationals must respond within standard timeframes to USCIS notices and decisions issued after March 23.

However, on July 25, 2022, USCIS adopted its COVID-era signature accommodation on “reproduced original signatures” as permanent agency policy, so employers can continue to rely on that accommodation.

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