Guidance for applicants for US citizenship who receive a 30 day notice to provide evidence of eligibility of be denied.
Divide and Conquer the Issues
Read the Notice of Intent Deny several times. Outline the issues. Outline the responses. Identify any statements that are factually incorrect.
Address Factual Errors
The USCIS is made up of people like you and I. People make mistakes. The USCIS is not out to get you. Oftentimes, NOIDs will incorrectly state the facts. Officers meet with a lot of applicants and they may get their facts wrong. Be sure to address erroneous findings of fact and back up your statements with primary objective evidence. Primary objective evidence is evidence that was created real time with the event in question. If you registered for selective service, provide a copy of your Selective Service Registration. If you paid child support, provide cancelled checks evidencing payment of child support. If you paid taxes, provide cancelled checks and tax transcripts. Tie the evidence together with sworn statements by you or another person with personal knowledge ofthe events in question. Do not use sworn affidavits in lieu of objective evidence.
Respond on Time
Make sure your response arrives to the USCIS on or before the deadline even if you don't have all of the evidence you need. Oftentimes, USCIS will request evidence that you simply cannot get before the 30 days is up. You might be waiting on birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates or other civil registry documents from a third world country. Don't delay. Ask your family member to scan or fax it to you before depositing in DHL. If evidence is coming that you don't have by the deadline, submit it afterwards. It is not ideal, but USCIS will see that you responded on time. Hopefully, they will not make a decision on your case until you have had a chance to submt all of the evidence.
Deliver Your Response by FedEx
Deliver your response using a method of delivery that can be confirmed. Our firm only uses FedEx to deliver client applications, responses to requests for evidence, responses to notices of intent to deny and appeals. US postal service delivery can be inconsistent in getting you back that silly green post card. If your NOID indicates delivery to a PO Box, find out the street address and send it to the street address. We have found that PO Boxes are not picked up daily by USCIS and can cause a delay in the processing of your application.
Know the Law
Again, USCIS isn't perfect. Sometimes, they confuse the applicable legal standard. They use templates to speed up their work. Sometimes the officer will leave in portions of the template that doesn't apply in your case. Consult with an attorney and do research to determine the applicable legal standard. It is not uncommon for us to respond to a NOID that stated the applicable legal standard erroneously.
Get a Lawyer
Immigration law is an area of law that often makes up for missing regulations with policy memoranda and interpretive guidance. Immigration applications often require guidance that only an experienced and competent immigration lawyer can provide. We also see patterns of issues among our client's applications. If there is a pattern of NOIDs or errors coming out of a certain office, we can escalate those cases to USCIS executive management to train their personnel to avoid these issues for other applicants and at the same time resolve your case in your favor.