USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services:

Expedited Processing, RFEs/NOIDs, EADs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new

policy updates to clarify the criteria and circumstances for

expedited processing; improve guidance for requests for evidence

(RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID); and increase the

validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization

documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of

status applications.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the

agency is “taking action to eliminate policies that fail to

promote access to the legal immigration system, and will

continue

to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to

citizenship, and that modernize our immigration system.”

Acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud said that USCIS is

“committed to promoting policies and procedures that ensure we

operate in a fair, efficient, and humane manner that reflects

America's heritage as a land of opportunity for those who seek

it.”

Highlights of the updates include:

Expedited Processing

USCIS is providing enhanced guidance to clarify when expedited

processing of a benefit request may be warranted. The new guidance

also permits nonprofit organizations whose request is “in

furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United

States” to request that a benefit be considered for expedited

processing regardless of whether premium processing is available

for that benefit.

Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to

Deny (NOIDs)

USCIS is returning to the adjudicative principles of a June 2013

memo, and is rescinding a July 2018 memo that allowed agency

officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests instead of

first issuing an RFE or NOID. The updated policy will give benefit

requestors “an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and

unintentional omissions.”

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

The one-year validity period on both initial and renewal EADs is

increased to two years for certain adjustment-of-status applicants.

This is expected “to reduce the number of employment

authorization requests USCIS receives and allow the agency to shift

limited resources to other priority areas.”

Details:

  • USCIS notice,

    https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-policies-to-improve-immigration-services

  • “Policy Alert: USCIS Expedite Criteria and

    Circumstances,” PA-2021-12, USCIS, June 9, 2021,

    https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20210609-ExpediteCriteria.pdf

    · “How to Make an Expedite Request,” USCIS,

    https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/how-to-make-an-expedite-request

  • “Policy Alert: Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent

    to Deny,” PA-2021-11, USCIS, June 9, 2021,

    https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20210609-RFEs%26NOIDs.pdf

  • “Policy Alert: Employment Authorization for Certain

    Adjustment Applicants,” PA-2021-10, USCIS, June 9, 2021,

    https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20210609-EmploymentAuthorization.pdf

    · USCIS Policy Manual,

    https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual

USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced

filing flexibilities to provide relief to certain applicants and

petitioners affected by delays at a USCIS lockbox. These

flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a USCIS

lockbox and not to USCIS service centers or field offices, the

agency said.

The following temporary flexibilities are effective until August

9, 2021:

  • If an applicant/petitioner submitted a benefit request to a

    USCIS lockbox between October 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and that

    request was rejected during that timeframe solely due to a filing

    fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting

    processing, the applicant/petitioner may resubmit the request with

    a new fee payment. If USCIS concurs that it rejected the benefit

    request because of the delay, USCIS will deem the request to have

    been received on the initial filing date it was first received and

    waive the $30 dishonored check fee.

  • USCIS will allow applicants/petitioners to submit documentation

    with a benefit request resubmission demonstrating that because of

    the time that elapsed between when a benefit request was originally

    submitted to a USCIS lockbox and when USCIS rejected it, an

    applicant, co-applicant, beneficiary, or derivative has reached an

    age that makes them no longer eligible to file for the benefit

    requested. If USCIS agrees that the delayed rejection caused the

    person to be ineligible due to age, USCIS will accept the request

    and deem it to have been received on the date the initial benefit

    request was received. This flexibility does not apply to Form

    N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate

    Under Section 322.

Applicants and petitioners can contact USCIS to verify that

previously filed benefit requests were not rejected in error. If

USCIS concurs, it may allow applicants and petitioners to resubmit

an erroneously rejected benefit request and deem the benefit

request to have been received on the date the initial benefit

request was first received at a USCIS lockbox, the agency said.

Details:

  • USCIS notice,

    https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-announces-lockbox-filing-flexibilities

The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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