The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been regularly updating its policies and procedures in an attempt to improve how it processes applications and requests for immigration benefits as well as for the adjudication of immigration cases. Although a number of its new policies over the last several years have not improved the experiences of immigrants or businesses whatsoever, the following policy update promises to change this trend.
On October 19, 2022, USCIS announced changes to a number of policies that aim to remove barriers to the naturalization process for applicants with disabilities. These changes shorten and simplify the process for medical certifications for people with disabilities and provide new guidance for telehealth options to aid applicants with disabilities and their medical providers.
Naturalization applicants with a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that prevents them from meeting the English and civics testing requirements may immediately file a request for an exception to the requirements using the new guidelines with the assistance of a medical professional.
One of the biggest changes to the medical support application was the elimination of questions relating to how each relevant disability affects specific functions of the applicant’s daily life, including the ability to work or go to school. The new form also eliminates dates of diagnosis, any description of the severity of each disability and whether the certifying medical professional has a pre-existing relationship with the applicant. These changes dramatically make qualifying for the disability exemptions much easier.
Another recent announcement from USCIS that is designed to help applicants with pending cases is the extension of Covid-19- related flexibilities initially announced in 2020. As of October 24, 2022 and through March 1, 2023, USCIS is automatically extending the deadline for responses to a number of requests from the government. Specifically, an extra 60 days has been granted to applicants responding to: Requests for Evidence; notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind; and Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status and a few other types of requests by USCIS.
If you have any questions about these new policies or need assistance requesting immigration benefits, contact our office to schedule a consultation so we can help you. You can do this either by calling our office at 616-805-3435 or by using the following link to schedule an appointment online: https://marvinlawoffice.com/schedule-a-consultation/