U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has given a set of policy revisions pointed toward reducing burdens on those eligible for U.S. immigration benefits. The changes follow a 2nd February 2021, executive order in which President Biden taught federal agencies to conduct a review of immigration regulations, policies, and guidance, and eliminate barriers to the Administration’s need of promoting legal immigration.
The new policy guidance addresses to USCIS issuance of requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of a plan to deny (NOIDs). The legitimacy time of employment authorization documents (EADs)for adjustment of status candidates, and expedite criteria for immigration benefit applications.
Return to 2013 policy on RFEs and NOIDs | Immigration Services
The new USCIS guidance restores a 2013 policy in where officials are told to give RFEs or NOIDs – not denials. In cases filed with initially insufficient evidence unless there is no possibility that additional evidence would establish eligibility for the immigration benefit. The new policy replaces a 2018 USCIS policy that allowed officials to deny benefit requests outright for lack of initial evidence. In reinstating the former policy, USCIS says that organizations and foreign nationals should generally be offered a chance to correct innocent mistakes. Also, unintentional omissions through the submission of additional evidence without needing to re-submit a full application.
Two-year EADs for most adjustment of status applicants
USCIS will presently allow Employment Authorization Documents for most adjustment of status candidates to be given for a maximum of two years. An increase from the standard one year of validity. The extension applies to all candidates applying for adjustment under Section 245 of the Immigration services and Nationality Act. Which includes employment-based and family-based adjustment candidates. The agency didn’t address the validity of adjustment of status travel document (advance parole) validity. Which is yet limited to one year.
Clarification of expedite criteria
In its new guidance, USCIS has also clarified criteria for whether an immigration case. Might be generally afforded expedited treatment due to severe financial loss. In the revised policy manual, the agency says an organization trying to assist the adjudication of a case. May demonstrate severe financial loss if it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or being required to lay off employees. Further, an individual might have the option to demonstrate severe financial loss by establishing a job loss. However, their need to get employment authorization alone, without other compelling factors, would not warrant expedited treatment.
Also, the new guidance restores the ability of certain nonprofit organizations to request expedited service. Even where premium processing is available for the immigration benefit sought. In different situations, expedite treatment is generally not available if premium processing is offered for the benefit.
What the new guidance means for employers and foreign nationals
The new guidance improves earlier restrictive adjudication policies, however, may not offer a wholesale change in certain areas. Under the reinstated RFE/NOID policy, organizations and foreign nationals may get fewer outright denials on immigration benefit applications. However, the number of RFEs and NOIDs got may not decrease significantly. Given that officials always have the authority to request further evidence when they determine eligibility for a benefit has not been established. USCIS’s new reinstatement of agency deference in adjudications may demonstrate to have a more huge effect around here. However, practical implementation of the policy change within the agency may lag behind the policy announcement.
Employment and family-based adjustment of status candidates who are granted two-year EADs under the new EAD policy may experience fewer or shorter gaps in work authorization. However, advance parole travel documents must still be renewed every year while an adjustment application is pending.
Lastly, further explanation on expedite criteria may help organizations and foreign nationals. In deciding how USCIS may see their requests, yet the agency will continue to consider expedites on a case-by-case basis. The decision to grant or deny is within the agency’s sole discretion. Expedites are typically challenging to achieve.