USCIS Changes Rules: Applications Can Now Be Denied without Due Process

By July 13, 2018December 2nd, 2020Immigration
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USCIS have issued a new policy memorandum today that provides guidelines to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when the required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility.

This update applies to all applications, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival applications, that are received on or after September 11, 2018. From this date on, USCIS have given full discretion to the adjudicating immigration officer to deny incomplete and ineligible applications and petitions that are submitted for immigration benefits. USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna claims that doing so will discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications and create more time and efficiency for the agency to tackle other legitimate and completed applications.

Previously, in a policy memorandum issued in 2013, the guideline limited direct denials by stipulating that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” was still limited to the adjudicator’s discretion but placed the bar high enough that most cases can be saved by supplying the missing information or clearing up any discrepancies.

USCIS have provided two examples of the type of situation that would receive a straight denial. These are only examples and the scope of a straight denial are not limited to the following:

  1. Waiver applications submitted with little to no supporting evidence; or
  2. Cases where the regulations, the statute, or form instructions require the submission of an official document or other form of evidence establishing eligibility at the time of filing and there is no such submission. For example, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).

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