Many USCIS deadlines still applicable despite shutdowns

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If you are facing an immigration law issue, such as those pertaining to deportation or removal, citizenship, or green cards or visas, then you know how stressful uncertainty can be. We definitely live in uncertain times right now, which may be contributing to any anxiety you may be feeling. Although it seems like the world is temporarily shut down, and it is, to a certain extent, USCIS is still accepting and processing cases, and you need to be aware that some important immigration law deadlines must still be met.

For example, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices are currently closed for in-person interviews, but as mentioned above, they are still accepting and processing applications. Furthermore, there are certain things you need to do in a timely fashion in order to meet federal requirements. For example, in many cases, the USCIS requests additional evidence from applicants who are seeking immigration benefits that might require an extensive response and further documentation gathering In some cases, it might even require legal challenging to USCIS’s request.

Under immigration law, upon receiving a request for evidence, applicants have 12 weeks to submit a response with the requested documentation. Although the federal government has exercised some flexibility with this timeframe, such as an additional 60 days to file a response after the response deadline (only for the requests that were issued between March 1 to May 1, 2020), nevertheless, the deadline must still be met.  It is still advisable that evidence be submitted as soon as possible so that the processing of the application can be resumed. This is the best way to protect you from a negative determination and delay in the process of your application. Responses to these requests are challenging, and it requires an expert attorney to help you gather necessary documents and to draft a legal response to USCIS.

The same holds true for notices of intent to deny a petition. The federal government typically gives an applicant 30 days to respond to these notices, but given the current status of the country, it has added an additional 60 days to the response time.

It is critical to note that these extended filing periods are only applicable to those requests and notices received between March 1, 2020, and May 1, 2020. If you received requests and notices from USCIS prior to March 1, 2020, then you still need to meet the statutorily imposed deadline. Failure to do so will likely result in the application being denied.

We understand that immigration law can be confusing, and the state of the world does not help matters. That is why we stand ready to help our clients navigate the system during these challenging times to better ensure that they can obtain the outcome they desire. While it might be easy to put off addressing these matters until the world returns to normal, we highly encourage you to take action now so that you can meet all applicable deadlines. Here at Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office, we are open and helping many to meet these deadlines, successfully challenge and/or respond to the requests by USCIS, and obtain a favorable outcomes.

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