New USCIS Policy on Denying Applications
A New USCIS Policy Memorandum Grants Increased Discretion to Adjudicators to Deny Applications Without First Issuing a RFE or NOID
On July 13th, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new policy memorandum restoring discretion to adjudicators to deny applications, petitions or requests without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when the necessary initial evidence is not present or the evidence of record is insufficient for establishing eligibility. This new guidance will take effect on September 11th, 2018 and will apply to all applications filed after that date with the sole exception of those concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The previous 2013 policy memorandum which is being overridden effectively limited this practice by directing adjudicators to issue RFEs unless it was decided that there was no possibility of the application's eventual approval. USCIS states that the newly afforded discretion is intended to cut down on the amount of frivolous and incomplete applications, thereby establishing a greater efficiency in processing those that are considered to be legitimate requests. The agency also believes it will encourage greater diligence in those that are making immigration requests.
Examples given by the USCIS of applications that may now be rejected without first receiving an RFE or NOID include, but are not limited to:
- Waiver applications that are submitted with insufficient supporting evidence.
- Cases where the regulations, statutes or form instructions require the submission of an official document or evidence and the required documentation is not present.
A Greater Necessity of Prudence when Filing
In summation, it is more important than ever that applicants and legal counsels ensure that they gather all the available and necessary documentation before submitting a case before adjudicators. Where RFEs and NOIDs formerly granted some leeway, many may now find themselves without that comforting contingency. If an applicant is unsure of their providing of the full and required set of documentation in establishing their eligibility for an immigration benefit, they should always play it safe by contacting experienced legal counsel first.