U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised its policy to address instances where the last day of filing for a certain benefit request or response to a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, or Terminate, falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday.
When filing for certain benefits, applicants must file a benefit request within the period of filing, if applicable, as prescribed by statute, regulation, and form instructions. This includes filing your request before the end of a certain time period (such as filing for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS), or before a current period of lawful status ends or an individual reaches a certain age. For example, petitioners for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status must file their petition, Form I-360, before their 21st birthday. As another example, conditional permanent residents must file the Form I-751 before the expiration of their conditional residence status to avoid automatic termination.
USCIS does not accept paper-based applications or petitions on Saturdays, Sundays, or federal holidays. With this recent update, when the last day of the filing period for a paper-filed benefit request falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, USCIS will apply the regulatory definition of “day” and extend the deadline for filing until the end of the next business day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday. In these situations, while the receipt date will continue to reflect the date USCIS physically received the request, USCIS will consider the benefit request to have been timely filed.
Similarly, this update also clarifies that where the last day to respond by mail to a mailed Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, or Terminate falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, USCIS will consider the response timely if received by the end of the next business day.
As of March 24, 2023, USCIS ended the 60-day response extension flexibility implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is critical that applicants respond to requests from USCIS in a timely manner. Failure to submit requested evidence that is relevant to the adjudication is grounds for denying the request. If a benefit requestor does not respond by the required date, USCIS may deny the benefit request as abandoned, deny the benefit request on the records, or deny the benefit request for both reasons.
USCIS considers electronically submitted benefit requests to be received immediately upon submission. Therefore, electronic filings are not affected by the fact that USCIS does not accept deliveries on Saturdays, Sundays, or federal holidays, and USCIS does not apply the regulatory definition of “day” to extend the filing period for benefit requests filed electronically.
If you need assistance responding to a request by USCIS, please contact our attorneys at 312-427-6163 to schedule a consultation.
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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