USCIS is preparing for a potential government shutdown in the country and is making adjustments regarding the untimely filing of documents to extend or change your status in the US.
On January 25, 2024, USCIS updated its guidance and can now, at its discretion and under certain conditions, exempt a non-resident from the obligation to timely file an application to extend their stay or change their status request if the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the applicant or petitioner’s control.
In its update, USCIS clarifies that extraordinary circumstances may include, but are not limited to, situations where the delay was caused by a slowdown or stoppage of work due to a strike, lockout or other labor dispute, or where the main reason for the late filing is the inability to obtain a certified labor condition application or temporary labor certification due to a cessation of government funding.
The changes in USCIS policy are in response to a commitment made in the H-2B Worker Protection Task Force report. The report requires DHS to clarify that a worker who remains in the US after the expiration date stated on their Form I-94 due to a labor dispute will not face negative consequences solely for that reason when later applying for a visa or petition to change immigration status (obtaining a Green Card).
USCIS does not grant an extension of stay or change of status for those who have been unable to maintain their status in the US or whose status has expired before the date of filing petitions or applications. However, subject to certain conditions, USCIS may, at its discretion, exempt responsibility for an untimely filing.
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