USCIS Clarifies Policy on NTA Issuance

New policy will not apply to employment-based applications and petitions at this time.

Update: The new USCIS policy regarding the issuance of Notices to Appear will officially go into effect on October 1, but only for some types of immigration cases. According to new guidance issued by USCIS yesterday and clarified today in a stakeholder conference call, the new policy will be implemented incrementally and “will not be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions” at this time.

Background and Context: An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings. In June, USCIS announced a new policy directing USCIS officers to issue an NTA in cases where they suspect removability on criminal grounds, fraud, receipt of public benefits, or other ground of removability. In July, USCIS delayed implementation of this new policy “until the operational guidance [could be] issued.” USCIS has now announced it is ready to proceed with implementing the policy in a limited number of cases. The operational guidance is not expected to be released to the public.