USCIS Ends COVID Flexibility Policies on Deadlines

Termination of COVID-related deadlines for forms,

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) first implemented flexibility policies for filing deadlines on certain forms on March 20, 2020. These policies were prompted by the coronavirus (COVID) pandemic. We discussed the policies here. The flexibility policy was renewed on several occasions, ultimately through March 23, 2023 in the final extension. On March 3, 2023, the USCIS announced that it was ending the COVID-related flexibility policy [link].

Under the flexibility policy, the USCIS allowed for individuals to respond to certain notices within 60 days of the listed deadline on said notices and have their responses be considered timely. The affected forms were: Requests for Evidence; Continuations to Request Evidence; Notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind; Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers; 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. Moreover, USCIS considered Forms I-290B and N-336 within 90 days of decision provided that the decision was made between November 1, 2021, and March 23, 2023.

The termination of the COVID flexibilities applies to notices dated after March 23, 2023, or, in the case of the Forms I-290B and N-336, decisions entered after March 23, 2023. Thus, if an individual received a form dated between March 20, 2020, and March 23, 2023, the COVID flexibility policy will apply, affording an extra 60 days to respond. The policies apply separately to Forms I-290B and N-336 related to decisions entered between November 1, 2021, and March 23, 2023. However, the policy is discontinued as of March 24, 2023. If an individual's form has a date of March 24, 2023 or later, or if an individual's Form I-290B or N-336 is related to a decision entered on March 24, 2023 or later, the ordinary deadlines will apply and no extension will be offered.

While the USCIS's COVID flexibility policy has ended, the USCIS notes that it will consider providing flexibility on a case-by-case basis upon request by applicants or petitioners affected by an emergency or unforeseen circumstance. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, national emergencies, or severe illness (severe illness could consider COVID). As a general rule, an applicant or petitioner should always proceed as if there will be no extension, but extensions may be available when genuinely severe emergencies or unforeseen circumstances prevent timely filing.