News & Insights

USCIS Extends Flexibilities For Responding To Various Agency Requests And Permanently Allows Scanned Signatures

During COVID, USCIS had allowed applicants an additional 60 days to respond to certain requests, notices, and appeals, such as RFEs, NOIDs etc.  However, USCIS recently stated that this would no longer be the case, which meant that applicants would need to respond by the date stated on the notice.  Days later USCIS has once again announced that they will allow an additional 60 days for requests or notices issued from March 1, 2020, through October 23, 2022.

So, for example, if you receive an RFE that was issued before October 23, 2022, you have an additional 60 days to respond beyond deadline stated on the notice.

This flexibility applies to the following requests, notices:

  • Request for Evidence
  • Continuations to request evidence (N-14)
  • Notice of intent to Deny
  • Notice of Intent to Revoke and Notice of Intent to Rescind
  • Notice of Intent to terminate regional centers
  • Notices of Intent to withdraw TPS
  • Motions to re-open an N-400

USCIS will also consider Form I-290B, notice of appeal, if filed 90 days after issuance of a decision if decision made between November 1, 2021, and October 23, 2022.

USCIS also announced that the flexibility regarding the acceptance of digitally reproduced signatures would now be permanent.  Prior to COVID USCIS required original wet signatures for all petitions.  This required Attorneys to send the forms to their clients with instructions on printing the forms, signing them, and then mailing the original signatures to the Attorney for filing.  This took time and certainly made last minute filings a lot more problematic.

However, in March 2020, as a direct result of COVID-19, USCIS stated that it would accept electronically reproduced original signatures.  This meant that scanned signatures were acceptable, and it was no longer necessary for clients to mail forms to their Attorneys.  This allowed for much faster filings and we are glad to see that the Biden administration has made this a permanent change.

However, all clients are reminded that when submitting documents with an electronically reproduced signature, the original “wet signature” document must be retained as USCIS can from time-to-time request this.  Failure to provide the original could negatively impact the case.

If you have questions regarding the above, please reach out to PLG Partner Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.

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