COVID-19: USCIS offers new remedies, relaxes requirements during crisis




USCIS is offering new remedies for some of those affected by the coronavirus pandemic and has relaxed its requirements for certain application and petitions.


F-1 Off-Campus Employment Authorization

USCIS will now permit students who are experiencing severe economic hardship to apply for work authorization that would allow them to work off-campus. To qualify, students would need to show that unforeseen circumstances have impacted their finances, such as a loss of financial aid or their on-campus jobs, for example. To apply, students must submit an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization along with a copy of their most recent Form I-20 to USCIS. Before submitting the application, students must ensure that the employment page of their Form I-20s is completed by their school's DSO to confirm their eligibility for off-campus work.


Relaxed Deadlines for RFEs, NOIDs

USCIS has also relaxed its requirements for Request for Evidence (RFE) and Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) dated between March 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020, allowing responses to be submitted within 60 days of the deadline listed on the notice.


Original Signature Requirement Waived

For applications submitted after March 21, USCIS will accept scanned or copied original signatures on all immigration applications and petitions. This means that immigration documents may now be submitted with faxed, scanned or photocopied copies of the original signatures. However, Adomat Immigration recommends that original copies of each document with the "wet" signature be retained, as USCIS may request the originals at a later date.


If you have any questions about these recent changes, please feel free to contact Ayla Kremen Adomat, Esq. at ayla@adomatimmigration.com

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