USCIS Policy Change: Don’t Get Denied

The Shapiro Law Group

Under a recent policy change, USCIS may, at the adjudicator’s discretion, immediately deny incomplete and ineligible petitions, requests, and applications submitted for immigration benefits. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in June that individuals who submit applications, petitions, or requests for immigration benefits that do not establish eligibility or include the required evidence can face denials without receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).

The changes in the USCIS discretionary denial policy applies to all petitions, applications, and requests, except for DACA adjudications, received after September 11, 2018.

Discouraging Frivolous, Incomplete and Placeholder Filings

This policy, according to the USCIS, is intended to discourage incomplete filings that are frivolous, lack critical components, and are used as placeholders. Such filings have bogged the immigration system, slowing down processing for legitimate petitioners. Immigration officers now have full discretion to deny applications and petitions filed and submitted without diligence. The USCIS claims that this will discourage skeletal applications and frivolous filings used to game the system, ultimately speeding up the process for legitimate and well-founded petitions and applications.

Statutory denials will be issued when appropriate without the issuance of a NOID or RFE when the applicant, requester, or petitioner submits a request for a benefit under a program that has been terminated, he or she has no legal basis for the benefit sought, or the application submitted has little to no supporting evidence.

How to Avoid USCIS Denial

An application or petition for a visa or change of status may be denied by USCIS if the petitioner or applicant:

  • Did not fully complete the application and provide all the supporting evidence
  • Submitted documents that are difficult to read or do not appear to come from an official government source
  • The beneficiary doesn’t have a bona fide relationship with someone or an entity in the United States
  • Was convicted of a drug violation or a crime involving moral turpitude

With the new policy changes in place, correcting the situation after a denial may not be possible. A Chicago immigration attorney will help ensure that all required documentation is included at the time applications, petitions or requests are submitted to reduce the chances of a denial.