Updated Policy Guidelines by policy changeUSCIS

What is the New Policy Change Taking Effect on September 11, 2018? 

USCIS 2018 policy change – the updated policy guidelines by USCIS will result in substantial changes to immigration policy. Effective September 11, 2018, USCIS adjudicators will have further discretion in their ability to deny an application, petition, or request without having to first issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This updated policy guidance by USCIS will apply to all applications used to obtain an immigration benefit except for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which are sent after the effective date.

How Does the New Policy Change Affect Me?

Prior to this pending policy change, USCIS operated under a policy that a denial of an application should not be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. With the new policy changes which take effect in September, USCIS adjudicators will now have much wider discretion in being able to deny an application simply because it is deficient, and not because there was no possibility of approval if further evidence would have been submitted.

This means that individuals who are seeking an immigration benefit must work to make sure that any application, petition, or request that is sent to USCIS is one-hundred percent correct, or else it may face a denial with no chance to correct the mistake. A denial of an application could create undesired stall of time, since the applicant would have to start the process all over. This could result in having an individual who receives a denied application falling out of status.

What Should I Do to Make Sure My Application is Correct on the First Try?

Keep in mind that once in effect, the September 11, 2018 USCIS policy change could mean that even if a complete application is sent to USCIS, if USCIS has simply misplaced some of the submitted documentation, this could result in the application being denied.

An experienced immigration attorney should be contacted in order to assist you with your application and to provide you with guidance on which documents are required of you in order to receive your desired immigration benefit.

Is there Anything Else I Should Know About the New Policy Changes?

Due to the policy change, USCIS has now been authorized to issue an NTA (Notice to Appear) on a much wider range of cases that it has previously been able to. Under the new guidance which was released on July 7, 2018, adjudicators will be able to issue an NTA whereby the applicant is removable from the U.S. and whereby there may be evidence of fraud, criminal activity, or where an applicant is denied an immigration benefit and is unlawfully present in the United States.

What is an NTA?

NTA stands for Notice to Appear. This is a document that notifies its recipient that removal proceedings are being brought against them. NTA’s can be mailed to its recipient or delivered by hand. An NTA must state the time, date and location of the court appearance. The NTA will list the reasons for why you are having removal proceedings initiated against you, which you or your immigration attorney will have to accept or deny on your court date.

What Kind of Applicants Would Receive an NTA Under these New Changes?

As taken from the USCIS website, the revised policy generally requires USCIS to issue an NTA in the following categories of cases in which the individual is removable:

  • Cases where fraud or misrepresentation is substantiated, and/or where an applicant abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits. USCIS will issue an NTA even if the case is denied for reasons other than fraud.
  • Criminal cases where an applicant is convicted of or charged with a criminal offense, or has committed acts that are chargeable as a criminal offense, even if the criminal conduct was not the basis for the denial or the ground of removability. USCIS may refer cases involving serious criminal activity to ICE before adjudication of an immigration benefit request pending before USCIS without issuing an NTA.
  • Cases in which USCIS denies a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on good moral character grounds because of a criminal offense.
  • Cases in which, upon the denial of an application or petition, an applicant is unlawfully present in the United States.
The revised policy does not change the USCIS policy for issuing an NTA in the following categories:
  • Cases involving national security concerns;
  • Cases where issuing an NTA is required by statute or regulation;
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) cases, except where, after applying TPS regulatory provisions, a TPS denial or withdrawal results in an individual having no other lawful immigration status;
  • DACA recipients and requestors when: (1) processing an initial or renewal DACA request or DACA-related benefit request; or (2) processing a DACA recipient for possible termination of DACA


The attorneys at Gilles Law, PLLC are here to help you with your immigration inquiries. Feel free to contact us today with any questions you might have.

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