USCIS Extends COVID-19-Related Flexibilities and Makes Signature Flexibility Policy Permanent

Mintz - Immigration Viewpoints
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Mintz - Immigration Viewpoints

USCIS recently announced the extension of two initiatives that allow for flexibility for employers, which are particularly helpful given delays in USCIS processing and for employers with remote work arrangements.

60-Day Extension for RFEs and Similar Responses.

Due to the ongoing repercussions of COVID-19, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept responses within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in each of the following requests or notices that were issued between March 1, 2020 and October 23, 2022 (inclusive):

  • Requests for Evidence (RFE);
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • 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);
  • 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.

We note that USCIS has been delayed in the issuance of RFEs, and the maximum response time is calculated from the date of issuance listed on the notice and not the date that the RFE is received.

In addition, for USCIS decisions dated between November 1, 2021 and October 23, 2022 (inclusive), USCIS will grant 90 calendar days from the date of the decision to file a Form I-290B appeal or motion or a Form N-336 hearing request.

Scanned Signatures on Immigration Forms and Documents.

On July 25, USCIS announced that it would indefinitely allow documents to be submitted with an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced, provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature. Individuals or entities who submit documents with an electronically reproduced original signature must retain the original “wet signature” documents, as the agency may, at any time, request an original document. Failure to provide this document may negatively impact case adjudication.

USCIS still does not accept electronically signed documents that are signed through DocuSign or similar applications that affix an electronic signature.

[View source.]

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