How can immigrants benefit from delays in USCIS?
The crisis of the coronavirus and budget deficit faced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) unexpectedly came into the hands of immigrants who must apply for a visa, green card or citizenship with a lot of evidence or documents, writes Miami Herald.
As the pandemic slowed the pace of the agency’s work after the USCIS reopened after quarantine on June 4, immigration authorities again increased flexibility of terms document delivery to help immigrants and foreigners respond to agency requests.
The US government's initiative aims to "minimize the impact on those seeking immigration benefits at this time," the agency said. It became known that USCIS may fire almost three quarters of its employeescutting administrative operations, while tens of thousands of foreign nationals are eagerly awaiting their naturalization ceremonies to become US citizens.
These more flexible USCIS requests and notifications give applicants and their lawyers the opportunity to intervene in the immigration process by providing more documentation or correcting errors before judges close or dismiss their cases, sometimes initiating deportation procedures.
Immigrants have more time to respond to USCIS requests
After immigrants apply for immigration benefits and submit their forms with the relevant requirements, immigration authorities usually ask for additional evidence to establish the right to these benefits.
On July 1, the agency announced that applicants will have more time to respond to requests, notifications, or decisions that were or will be issued between March 1 and September 11, 2020:
- Requests for Evidence (RFE, Requests for Evidence)
- Notifications of Intent to Deny (NOID)
- Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR)
- Notifications of intent to cancel and Notifications of intent to close regional investment centers (NOIT, Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers)
- Continuation of Request for Evidence (N-14, Continuations to Request Evidence)
- Requirements for the filing date for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Request (Notice of appeal or motion)
- N-336, Request for a hearing on a decision on naturalization (Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings).
Who benefits from extending USCIS processing times?
According to the USCIS, flexibility with a deadline is provided to applicants and petitioners who receive one of the seven above-mentioned documents, including statements, notices or decisions.
"Before taking any action, USCIS will consider the response to the aforementioned requests and notifications received within 60 calendar days after the date of the response specified in the request or notification," the agency explained.
"We will review Form N-336 or Form I-290B received within 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before taking any action," the agency added, referring to the form for a request for a hearing with an immigration officer on rejection in the form of N-400, Naturalization Application and notice of appeal.
The USCIS confirmed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security prioritizes naturalization ceremonies during which lawful permanent residents become US citizens.
On July 1, the agency also said that on the occasion of Independence Day from July 1 to 7 throughout the country naturalization ceremonies are helddespite the pandemic.
The USCIS resumed naturalization processes in early June under a new protocol to protect its employees and the immigrant community. Since then, approximately 64 new American citizens have been naturalized.
“The ceremonies were shorter to limit contact with those present, including social distancing and other security measures,” the agency said.
How to apply for US citizenship
To apply for naturalization, legal permanent residents must send by mail or online form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The form must be filled out correctly according to these USCIS instructions.
The form must be filed with a fee of $ 725, including $ 85 for biometric services. USCIS accepts money orders, credit cards, personal and bank checks payable to the US Department of Homeland Security.
The statement should also include all of the evidence listed and supporting documentation. Do not send original documents unless specifically required.
Some of the documents:
- two photographs passport style;
- a copy of the permanent resident card, known as the green card;
- copy of the current legal document on marital status;
- documents for military personnel or their spouses, such as a certificate of military or naval service using the form N-426.
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