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Extensions of Immigration-Related Responses to COVID-19

As COVID-19 vaccines are continuing to roll out, the effects of the global pandemic are still being felt. This fact has been acknowledged by the U.S. immigration agencies, who have taken various steps in response to the pandemic including additional safety precautions at physical facilities and offices both inside the U.S. and abroad. Recently, two important immigration-related responses to COVID-19 have been extended.

First, the U.S. Department of State announced that it has extended a policy which expands the ability of consular officers to waive in-person interview requirements for individuals who are applying for a new nonimmigrant visa in the same classification as a valid visa they held within the previous 48 months. This policy allows nonimmigrant visa applications to be continue being processed with fewer applicants having to physically appear at the consulate, reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This policy has been extended until December 31, 2021. If you will be applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate, it is important to carefully review the website of the particular consulate at which you will be applying; different consulates have different rules and procedures for visa applications.

Second, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has extended a policy which provides flexibility for responding to requests for evidence, denials, and other requests. For any Request for Evidence (RFE) or any Notice of Intent to Deny, Revoke, Rescind, or Terminate issued by USCIS between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, USCIS will consider a response that is received within 60 calendar days of the response due date listed on the Request or Notice as timely filed. If USCIS denies a petition or application between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, the deadline for filing a Notice of Appeal or Motion, which is typically 30 days (or 33 days if the decision is mailed), has now been extended to 60 calendar days from the date the decision was made.

If you need assistance with responding to an RFE, responding to a Notice of Intent to Deny, or filing a Notice of Appeal or Motion for an application or petition which has been denied, please reach out to us at David Swaim & Associates, P.C. for a discussion of your options.

Alexander Farquhar
Associate Attorney