This past Friday the 13th proved to be a particularly unlucky day for the immigration world as USCIS published a news release informing the public that its Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) was updated to provide officers with more freedom to deny applications without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).
This update represents a drastic change from previously standard practice, whereby officers would typically issue an RFE or a NOID in order to: (1) inform the applicant of any deficiencies that USCIS had identified; and (2) provide the applicant with the opportunity to correct these deficiencies with additional evidence.
Once the new policy takes effect on September 11, 2018, adjudication officers will be empowered to “skip” the RFE or NOID step and move straight to the issuance of a denial. Notably, USCIS referred to two types of cases that may be denied without first issuing an RFE: waiver applications submitted with sparse supporting evidence and cases requiring an I-864 affidavit of support where the affidavit is missing.
Your EIG Team is closely watching this development at USCIS, and we are available to address any questions or concerns our clients may have in response to this new directive.