Skipping RFE, Straight to Denial
On September 11, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) implemented the plan announced in July that empowers it to proceed immediately to issuing denials instead of first issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) or a Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), as was standard practice. (RFEs are formal requests by USCIS for additional evidence related to the petition that was filed. NOIDs are preliminary decisions to deny the applicant’s petition due to a perceived ineligibility with a chance to change the adjudicator’s mind or to answer any questions that may have arisen.) In the past, petitioners, applicants, or requestors could almost always count on receiving warnings such as these that their cases may not be approved and a chance to respond to such warnings. Now, there is no guarantee that petitioners will be warned before a denial is issued. (There is one noteworthy exception to this rule however: the new change does not apply to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program extensions due to court orders.)
Though USCIS has had the right to skip the RFE/NOID phase for some cases since 2013, its capacity to do so was limited. In 2013, USCIS said it would only proceed immediately to denial in those cases it receives where the “… applicant, petitioner, or requestor has no legal basis for the benefit / request sought or submits a request for a benefit or relief under a program that has been terminated.” USCIS has expanded this ability to proceed immediately to denial because of what it claims to be a multitude of frivolous or “skeletal” applications it has received.
As a consequence of this change in procedure, immigration petitioners must exercise a heightened level of caution. This is because through unexpected petition denial, certain benefits can end without warning. With recent changes such as this under the current administration, it is becoming even more important to seek professional immigration guidance to make sure an application, petition, or request that you file with USCIS is current and complete in the first submission.
To protected their rights and interests, it is highly recommended that petitioners speak to an experienced immigration attorney prior to submitting any petition of immediate consequence. Our firm as over 25 years of experience handling tough cases and will explore every avenue possible to ensure approval. Contact us today to see how we can maximize your chances of immigration petition approval.