USCIS Policy Update: RFE & NOID

United States Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum that will allow USCIS officers and adjudicators to exercise their full discretion to deny an application, petition or request without needing to first issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required evidence was either a) not initially submitted or b) fails to establish eligibility for US immigration benefits. 

This policy, effective as of September 11, 2018, applies to all petitions, applications, and requests—excluding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals adjudications received after that date (DACA).

The purpose of the policy, according to USCIS Direction L. Francis Cissna, is to “discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications, ensure our resources are not wasted, and ultimately improve our agency’s ability to efficiently and fairly adjudicate requests for immigration benefits…”

 USCIS may issue a statutory denial without issuing an RFE or NOID when an application, petition, or request…

  1. Has no legal basis for the benefit and/or request;
  2. The initial submission lacks required evidence/documentation; OR
  3. The applied for benefit or program has been terminated.

The policy gives the following example for which a USCIS officer may issue a denial without an RFE or NOID, but their discretion is not limited to; 

  1. Waiver applications that require a showing of 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;
  2. Family-based visa petitions filed for family members under categories that are not authorized by statute;
  3. Waiver applications submitted with little to no supporting evidence; OR
  4. Cases where the regulations, the statute, or form instructions require the submission of an official document or other form or evidence establishing eligibility at the time of filing and there is no submission. For example, family-based or employment-based categories where an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).


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