Consider 2011/12 Federal Holiday Schedule in Immigration Plans
As the holiday season approaches, MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers should be mindful of federal holiday schedules in connection with their immigration cases. These schedules are important for expectations of appointment availability at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices and U.S. consulates, as well as for meeting filing deadlines.
USCIS Schedule of Closings
The USCIS, as part of the U.S. government, closes on federal holidays. In 2011, all USCIS offices and application support centers will be closed on Friday, November 11, 2001 (in observance of Veteran's Day), Thursday, November 24, 2011 (in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday) and Monday, December 26, 2011 (in observance of the Christmas holiday). The first federal holiday in 2012, New Year's Day, will be observed on January 2, 2012.
Announcements of USCIS field office closings are made available on the USCIS WebSite, which provides information on planned as well as unplanned office closings. Non-holiday closures occur from time to time, due to circumstances ranging from natural disasters to various internal operations requirements.
Strictly Adhere to USCIS Deadlines on RFEs, NOIDs, NOIRs, Denials
It is always best; if at all possible, to file responses to requests for evidence (RFEs), notices of intent to deny (NOIDs), notices of intent to revoke (NOIRs), and other deadline matters, such as motions and appeals, before their respective deadlines. Filing means received by the USCIS, not simply stamped and dropped in the mail for delivery.
There are regulations that address deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday. While, generally, the deadline is extended to the next business day, one should make no such assumption. It is best, to submit the filing a few days early, if at all possible, to avoid problems regarding the timeliness of a filing.
Immigration deadlines usually are not flexible, and any failure to meet a deadline can have serious consequences for an individual, an entire family, and/or a business. Any questions about deadlines in one's immigration process should be discussed with a qualified, experienced immigration attorney.
Be Mindful of Postal Service and FedEx Closings
The holiday season is a busy time for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and other delivery services. Nothing that is urgent or has a deadline should be entrusted to regular, standard mailing procedures. As indicated on the USPS WebSite, post offices are closed on all federal holidays. Advance planning is needed, as even Federal Express (FedEx) takes occasional holidays.
Closings at Lawyer's Offices or Law Firms
Perhaps contrary to the wishes of clients and the perceptions of their own families, even lawyers occasionally take a break. Individuals who have travel plans and are uncertain about documents and other details should contact their lawyers at the earliest opportunity. Those individuals whose attorneys may be unavailable for extended periods during the holidays, with no one to cover for them, should ensure that there are no outstanding, urgent immigration matters.
At the Murthy Law Firm, our attorneys and paralegals work in teams, so that our clients can be well cared for even if their assigned attorney or paralegal is out of the office. We, too, take a bit of time away from the office during the holidays. Our holiday schedule is available to our clients.
Much of the immigration process is about planning ahead. Holidays, with various government and other business closures, are just another aspect of this planning. In the United States, this is a traditional time for people to relax and enjoy time with their friends and loved ones. We at the Murthy Law Firm would like to take this early opportunity to wish each of our MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers a happy holiday season.
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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.