Major Changes Coming for Citizenship Applicants, Petitioners, Requestors
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued new guidance to officials on July 13, 2018 that will dramatically affect anyone applying, petitioning or requesting a change in status with the USCIS. This includes but is not limited to any applications for benefits, citizenship,
New discretionary denials by USCISThe United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued new guidance to officials on July 13, 2018 that will dramatically affect anyone applying, petitioning or requesting a change in status with the USCIS. This includes but is not limited to any applications for benefits, citizenship, non-immigrant visas, and green cards.
Effective September 11, 2018, USCIS agents can more easily deny applications, petitions, or requests without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).
In the past, USCIS was required to issue an RFE or NOID to applicants unless there was *no possibility* that an application with errors or missing information could be fixed by submitting additional evidence. Statutory denials were generally issued only in cases of a request for a nonexistent benefit or a filing in which the applicant did not have legal standing.
These new rules make it easier for USCIS to deny applications without notification or request for evidence. If your application, petition, or request is improperly completed and filed, you could risk being denied without the chance to submit additional paperwork or make the necessary corrections.
This will impact all applicants, petitioners, and requestors except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases. RFE and NOID policies for DACA cases in California and New York will remain unchanged due to court orders issued in those states.
The power of USCIS officials to issue statutory denials without prior notice of an RFE or NOID has expanded to include the following:
* Waiver applications that require showing extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, but the applicant is claiming extreme hardship to someone else and there is no evidence of any qualifying relative;
* Family-based visa petitions filed for family members under categories that are not authorized by law;
* Waiver applications submitted with little or no supporting evidence;
* Applications that do not include the required additional documentation stated in the application instructions.
It is important to know that your application could be denied if you have been arrested or convicted of any crime. You must provide information and all supporting documentation*arrest reports, court dispositions, sentencing documents and any other relevant documents*of any arrests or convictions so that USCIS can make a decision on your case. Employment authorization applications for asylum seekers must include all dispositions.
New guide to issuance of Notice to AppearIt is also important to know that USCIS agents can now more easily issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court in a wide range of cases that include the following:
* Cases in which fraud, false representation, or abuse of benefits has been proven;
* Cases in which immigrants have been accused or convicted of a crime;
* Cases in which a denial of an application or petition results in the applicant being unlawfully present in the United States;
* Cases in which an applicant is denied an immigration benefit.
USCIS agents may also refer any of these cases to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
NTAs are often considered the first step in the deportation process. This vastly expanded list of reasons for issuing NTAs means that any immigration applicant could be affected.
It is highly important that you seek representation from an experienced lawyer if you are involved in the process of applying, petitioning, or requesting any benefit or change of status with the USCIS. The process is very complex, and the new rules allow USCIS to reject your application if it is filed incorrectly. You could also risk being called to appear in immigration court or face other dire consequences if you do not follow proper procedure.
For further information on these changes or any immigration matter, please contact my office at 646-253-0516.