USCIS Changes Federal Policies to Pave Way for Sudden Visa Denials

  • August 18, 2018
  • Richard Newman

Policy memos recently circulated by USCIS could pave the way for sudden visa denials and referrals for deportation.  The most recent memo changes previous federal policy by allowing immigration officers to reject visa applications immediately if there is missing or inaccurate information. Previous guidance issued in 2013 required officials to send “Requests for Evidence” to the applicant or their attorney to fix any gaps in paperwork unless there was no possibility that the mistake could be corrected, in which case, “Notices of Intent to Deny” were issued, giving 30 days warning to applicants that their applications would be rejected.

These policies apply to applications and renewals for both temporary visas and permanent resident status, needed to live and work in the United States. Visa applications are often complicated requiring much information and documents.

The new policy which will take effect on September 11, allows USCIS to deny the application for failure to establish eligibility based on lack of required initial evidence.

This means that the policy change together with the previous one issued July 28 regarding referral of applicants for deportation as soon as their visa application is denied, means that applicants could suddenly find themselves on a track toward deportation.

Given these policy changes, it becomes more important than ever to file your applications as early as possible so that your case can be adjudicated before your current visa expires, and also make absolutely sure that your applications are accurate and complete. Before, a technical error or omission simply resulted in a hassle because time was lost fixing mistakes. However, now it could mean loss of visa status or loss of residency.

These new policies support the hardline immigration enforcement priorities established by President Trump, but could potentially end up deporting legitimate applicants due to technical errors.