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USCIS Extends COVID-19 Accommodations on RFEs, NOIDs, Appeals, and Other Responses Through March 23, 2023; Likely the Final Policy Extension

Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, USCIS is extending its deadline extension policy through March 23, 2023. Petitioners and applicants will continue to have an additional 60 days to respond to requests for evidence, notices of intent to deny or revoke, notices of intent to terminate EB-5 regional investment centers, and certain other notices dated between March 1, 2020 and March 23, 2023, inclusive. Employers and foreign nationals will also continue to have 90 days to file a Form I-290B appeal or motion or Form N-336 hearing request to reopen a USCIS decision that was issued between November 1, 2021 and March 23, 2023, inclusive.

The issue

In its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS is further extending its deadline extension policy for responses to various agency actions through March 23, 2023. The accommodations, which were initially announced in March 2020 as a means of minimizing negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been extended several times. They had most recently been scheduled to expire after January 24, 2023.

In today’s announcement, USCIS also states that it anticipates this extension to be the final extension of the accommodation policy, barring changes in the COVID pandemic. Upon termination of the accommodation policy – whenever that occurs – employers and foreign nationals will be required to respond to all agency notices and deadlines under the standard response requirements.

Agency response deadline accommodation extended through March 23, 2023

Applicants and petitioners who receive(d) one of the below notices or decisions dated between March 1, 2020 and March 23, 2023 (inclusive), will receive an additional 60 calendar days beyond the original response deadline in order to file a response with USCIS:

  • Requests for Evidence (RFE),
  • Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID),
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke or Rescind (NOIR),
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate EB-5 Regional Investment Centers (NOIT),
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status;
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant;

For USCIS decisions dated between November 1, 2021 and March 23, 2023 (inclusive), USCIS will grant 90 calendar days from the date of the decision (as opposed to 30 days in most cases under standard rules) to file one of the following:

  • Form I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion; and
  • Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

The extended agency response deadlines should continue to temporarily mitigate the pressure on employers and foreign nationals to respond to inquiries or file appeals with USCIS while U.S. businesses continue to be disrupted, U.S. workforces continue to work remotely, and stakeholders continue to experience delays and non-receipt of correspondence from USCIS Service Centers. As a reminder, this accommodation does not affect applications for extensions of stay or employment authorization. These applications must continue to be timely filed.

Employers and foreign nationals should also prepare for the potential end of the USCIS response deadline accommodations on March 23, 2023. 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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