COVID-19 and Immigration Updates; USCIS Process Changes and More

On March 30, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests. The decision to do so is a result of the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Applicants who had an appointment scheduled with an ASC on or after the March 18, 2020 closure, or who have filed an I-765 extension, will have their application processed using previously submitted biometrics (such as fingerprints, photos, or signatures).

This will remain in effect until ASCs are open for appointments to the public. For more information and more USCIS updates click here.

USCIS Expands Flexibility for Responding to USCIS Requests

On March 27, 2020, USCIS announced that it will allow an extra 60 days for timely responses to all Requests for Evidence (RFE) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) that are dated between March 1, 2020, and May 1, 2020. This flexibility also applies to certain Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers, as well as certain filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

USCIS will not issue new RFEs or NOIDs to account for the extended response time, and instead will not take any action on the RFE/NOID until more than 60 days beyond the deadline.

E-Verify extends timeframe for taking action to resolve Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNCs)

E-Verify is extending the timeframe to take action to resolve Department of Homeland Security (DHS) TNCs in limited circumstances when an employee cannot resolve a TNC due to public or private office closures.

Employers are still required to create cases for their new hires within three (3) business days from the date of hire. Employers must use the hire date from the employee’s Form I-9 when creating the E-Verify case. Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is an interim case status (including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status).

U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR—Immigration Courts) postpone hearings

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced all hearings for immigrants who are not currently detained, including asylum-seekers, have been further postponed until May 1, 2020. For more information click here.

Postponement of REAL ID Compliance Deadline

On March 23, 2020, President Trump announced that the DHS would delay the October 1, 2020, deadline for compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

Under the REAL ID Act, federal agencies may not accept state-issued driver’s licenses or ID cards for “official purposes.” Those “official purposes” include clearance through TSA security checkpoints at airports, unless those documents meet certain minimum requirements.

REAL IDs may only be obtained in-person at Department of Motor Vehicle offices. On March 26, 2020, DHS announced that it is extending the enforcement deadline by one year until October 1, 2021.

Murphy Desmond’s immigration lawyers are here for you

For questions about immigration matters during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the immigration lawyers at Murphy Desmond S.C. at 608-270-5550 or infoimmigration@murphydesmond.com.

Published April 1, 2020

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