New USCIS policy regarding NTA issuance goes into effect

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On October 1st, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began implementing a new policy regarding the issuance of a Notice to Appear in immigration court (NTA) following the denial of an application or petition.

USCIS has explained that it will take an incremental approach to implementing the policy, which is described here in a memorandum dated June 28th, 2018:

What is the new policy?

• Starting October 1, 2018, USCIS will issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to form I-485 applications for adjustment of status (“green card” applications) and form I-539 applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status.

• In the future the memo will also likely be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions (for example H-1b visa applications) and humanitarian applications and petitions.

• Withdrawing an application will not cancel USCIS’s authority to issue an NTA. USCIS may issue an NTA even if the applicant or petitioner withdraws the application.

Why is the new policy important?

The new policy represents a major shift in deportation priorities. Previously, an applicant or petitioner was not automatically referred to immigration court if their request for a status-impacting benefit was denied.

It is now more important than ever to ensure that an application is properly filed and presents the strongest possible evidence, to avoid a denial.

For advice and assistance regarding your specific immigration situation, please contact us at 415-496-9040 or