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USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will offer limited time filing flexibilities to provide relief to certain applicants and petitioners impacted by delays at a USCIS lockbox. These flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a USCIS lockbox. A benefit request is the form through which the applicant/petitioner requests a benefit for the USCIS to approve.

It is important to note that the flexibilities do not pertain to the USCIS service centers or field offices. The flexibilities only apply to USCIS lockbox applications which can be found here: Forms Processed at USCIS Lockbox Facilities | USCIS

What are the changes?

The following temporary flexibilities are effective for 60 days from June 10, 2021 until August 9, 2021:

  • If you submitted a benefit request to a USCIS lockbox between October1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and that request was rejected solely due to a filing fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting processing, you may resubmit the request with a new fee payment. If USCIS agrees that the delay caused the benefit to be rejected, USCIS will deem the benefit request to have been received on the date the initial benefit request was received and waive the $30 dishonored check fee.
  • USCIS will allow applicants and petitioners to submit documentation with a benefit request resubmission that demonstrates that, because of the time that elapsed between when a benefit request was originally submitted to a USCIS lockbox and when USCIS rejected it, an applicant, co-applicant, beneficiary, or derivative has reached an age that makes them no longer eligible to file for the benefit requested. If USCIS agrees that the delayed rejection caused the person to be ineligible due to age, USCIS will accept the request and deem it to have been received on the date the initial benefit request was received. This flexibility does not apply to Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322.

Applicants and petitioners can contact USCIS if they think their benefit request was rejected in error. If USCIS agrees, they may allow them to resubmit an erroneously rejected benefit request and deem the benefit request to have been received on the date the initial benefit request was first received at a USCIS lockbox.

These changes are being announced by USCIS presumably to help applicants, petitioners and their legal representatives by addressing the filing difficulties many of them faced during and after the October 2020 immigrant petition filing rush. It will be interesting to see how many applicants will now try and refile their rejected applications.

Should readers have any specific questions about whether they are eligible to refile based on the newly introduced USCIS criteria, we encourage you to contact our office for further consultation.