As many of you know U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented several COVID-19 related flexibilities beginning on March 1, 2020. In particular, many deadlines were extended an additional 30-60 days to take into account delays relating to the pandemic. Unfortunately, these flexibilities have come to an end.
What Deadlines Were Extended?
Beginning on March 1, 2020, USCIS began providing an additional 60 days to respond to certain requests or notices that they mailed to applicants. These notices fell into two main groups. One set of notices referred to cases where USCIS provided the applicant with additional time to provide further evidence before making a final decision (for example, a “Request for Evidence” or “Notice of Intent to Deny”). The other type of notices were denial notices, which provided a certain amount of time time someone had to file an appeal or a motion to reopen to challenge the denial.
In acknowledgement of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, USCIS allowed most applicants an additional 60 days to either provide the documents that were requested or to file an appeal if an application were denied. A complete list the types of notices and the relevant extensions can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-extends-covid-19-related-flexibilities-1. The USCIS website clearly laid out the types of deadlines that were automatically extended beyond the date listed on the notices.
When Did the Extensions End?
The automatic extensions lasted through March 23, 2023. This means that if a notice was issued on or before March 23, 2023, then the relevant deadline is automatically extended (usually by 60 days), as indicated on the website above. However, if a notice is issued after March 23, 2023, then the deadline listed on the notice is the final deadline.
What If the Deadline Falls on a Weekend or Federal Holiday:
In most cases, if the deadline falls on a weekend, federal holiday, or other day that USCIS does not accept mail, then a filing should be considered timely received if it arrives by the next business day. For example, if your deadline is Saturday April 1, 2023, and USCIS receives your filing on Monday April 3, 2023, your filing should be considered to meet the deadline. Please note that this is only the case for physical mail (not electronic submissions), and it is never recommended to wait until the last minute to file a response or appeal.
What Are the Consequences If I Do Not Meet the Deadline:
It is crucial that you meet all deadlines required by USCIS. If USCIS requests additional evidence and you do not provide it within the deadline, USCIS does not have to consider that evidence when making a decision on your application or petition. This means that your application could be denied for failure to submit necessary evidence. Similarly, if you do not file an appeal within the deadline required, your appeal could be denied simply for being late. Although USCIS can grant extensions on a case by case basis, you should never assume that an extension will be granted, and the consequences can be very severe if you do not meet the deadlines set by USCIS.
If you wish to discuss your case with our office, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys by contacting us at (312) 427-6163 or through our website at https://mmhpc.com/.
The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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