U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an updated policy memo with guidance to adjudicators regarding the discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if initial evidence is not submitted or if the evidence in the record does not establish eligibility.
The updated policy was effective September 11, 2018, and applies to most applications, petitions, and requests received after the effective date. Petitions and applications not subject to the policy are those received on or before September 11, 2018; and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), asylum, and refugee cases.
The previous policy instructed USCIS adjudicators to issue statutory denials without an RFE or a NOID only if there was no legal basis for the benefit requested or the benefit requested was nonexistent. The policy also stated that adjudicators should issue an RFE unless there was “no possibility” that the deficiency could be cured by submission of additional evidence. This provided filers the opportunity to submit additional requested evidence to prove eligibility and achieve case approval. In addition, adjudicators were instructed to issue NOIDS which provide filers the opportunity to rebut evidence of ineligibility or derogatory information that has been discovered by USCIS and may affect eligibility.