USCIS Provides Lockbox Flexibilities Due to COVID Delays01 Jul 2021
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in processing at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With an increased volume of filings, some petitioners and applicants have complained about longer than usual wait times to receive receipt or rejection notices after filing a benefit request with a USCIS lockbox. To help mitigate this concern, the USCIS has announced flexibilities with lockboxes in processing benefit requests for a temporary period through August 9, 2021.
Refiling Applications and Petitions Due to Check Expiration
In some instances, the delayed processing in USCIS lockboxes has caused the expiration of filing fee payments, hence resulting in rejections of corresponding benefit requests. If this was the sole reason for rejection and the benefit request was filed between October 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, the petitioner or applicant may resubmit the request with a new fee payment and retain the original receipt date without the need to pay the $30 dishonored check fee.
Resubmission Based on “Aging Out” from Eligibility
In some other cases, an applicant or beneficiary has aged out of the eligibility criteria, and, as a result, may no longer be eligible for the requested benefit, due to the lengthy processing times at USCIS lockboxes. The USCIS has allowed these applicants or beneficiaries to resubmit their rejected filings and retain the original receipt date on the new filings. However, an application for citizenship and issuance of certificate under section 322 (form N-600) is not eligible for this flexibility.
The temporary flexibilities that the USCIS provides for requests submitted to lockboxes do help to reduce issues experienced by applicants and petitioners caused by processing delays at USCIS lockboxes. It provides opportunities for cases erroneously rejected to be accepted for processing upon re-filing and the ability to retain the original delivery date, which is so important for certain applicants with their status expiring or aging out.
Copyright © 2021, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved