Employers petitioning for visa workers will get an additional 60 calendar days to respond to agency requests for evidence and notices of intent to deny, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced.
The agency said Friday it was adopting the new policy in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Applicants and petitioners responding to a request for evidence or a notice of intent to deny dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, will be given an additional two months to respond from the original deadline set forth in the agency’s notice.
The agency said the announcement is one of several measures it will adopt “to protect our workforce and community, and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.”
The agency last week closed field offices and other centers to the public due to the pandemic, and it has relaxed original-signature requirements on visa petitions to help attorneys and clients remain isolated to reduce risk of infection.
Immigration attorney groups have been increasingly vocal about the ways the virus outbreak is affecting their ability to continue business as usual. The American Immigration Lawyers Association sent a letter to USCIS leadership March 23 demanding an immediate suspension of all deadlines.