31 Jul New USCIS policy may allow immediate denial of visa application
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
A pair of policy memos circulated recently by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may pave the way for sudden visa denials and referrals for deportation.
The most recent memo, released last week, changes previous federal policy by allowing immigration officials to reject visa applications immediately if there is missing or inaccurate information. Prior guidance issued in 2013 required officials to serve “Requests for Evidence” to fix any gaps in paperwork unless there was “no possibility” that the mistake could be corrected, and then “Notices of Intent to Deny” were issued, giving 30 day warnings to applicants that they would likely be rejected.
These policies apply to applications and renewals of both temporary and permanent resident status visas, which foreign nationals must obtain in order to legally live and work in the United States. Visa applications are often complex, with a lengthy list of evidence required to tie a person to employment or families in the United States.
The new policy, which will take effect Sept. 11, 2018, allows USCIS to “deny the (application) for failure to establish eligibility based on lack of required initial evidence.”
Anastasia Tonello, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that change, coupled with a previous one issued June 28, means visa applicants can suddenly find themselves on a track toward deportation. The June 28, 2018, memorandum allows Customs to refer applicants for deportation as soon as their visas are denied. Rejected applicants are also left with no legal immigration status.
“It’s more important than ever to file as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of having your case adjudicated before your visa expires,” Tonello said. “Make sure the files are accurate. Before it was just a hassle because we lost however much time fixing mistakes, but now it could mean loss of residency.”
She also noted that another USCIS policy memo released in October means Customs officials no longer have to consider previous successful visa applications when considering current ones.
The USCIS Spokesman Michael Bars and USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna defended the new policies and claimed the previous presidential administration prevented officials from weeding out fraudulent applications.
“The 2013 policy change under president Obama was among the many abuses of the immigration process, tying the hands of adjudicators and imposing a massive loophole for illegitimate petitioners to exploit our system,” Bars said. “Under the law, the burden of proof is on an applicant, petitioner, or requestor to establish eligibility – not the other way around.
Cissna said the June 28 policy memo is necessary to meet the demands of the current president, who has taken a hard line on immigration.
“This updated policy equips USCIS officers with clear guidance they need and deserve to support the enforcement priorities established by the president, keep our communities safe, and protect the integrity of our immigration system from those seeking to exploit it,” Cissna said.
Note: This is not a legal advice. You should seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer about your specific circumstances.
- On April 18, 2018, we received a grant of waiver from Immigration Court for a husband and wife client who made a misrepresentation of their marital status but has no criminal records, has long residence and strong family ties in the U.S.
- On April 12, 2018, the Immigration Judge in San Francisco approved a waiver of misrepresentation in applying for a visa for our client who has been in the U.S. for 26 years, no criminal record and strong family ties in the U.S.
- On April 3, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for a U visa for a client who was a victim of crime.
- For the month ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals for four naturalization applications.
- For the week ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals of six Adjustment of Status, two Application to Remove Condition on Residence and two Renewal of Green Card approvals.
- On March 9, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for adjustment of status for a client who was abused by her spouse. The I-601 waiver was approved based on extreme hardship.
- On February 15, 2018, we received a grant from Immigration Judge for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who has been in the U.S. for long period of time.
- For the week ending February 9, 2018, we received approvals of one I-485, one N-400, one I-90 and one I-751.
- On January 12, 2018, we received an approval of immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate Manila for an alien who applied for I-601-A as one who entered as a seaman.
- On January 10, 2018, we received an approval form USCIS of a self petition for abused spouse based on same sex marriage.
- On January 3, 2018, we received an approval from the Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who was charged with misrepresentation in marriage;
- On December 15, 2017, we received an approval from USCIS for an adjustment of status for same sex marriage for an applicant who entered without inspection but has Sec. 245 (i).
- On November 16, 2017, we received an approval from Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for entering as single daughter of U.S. citizen but actually married.
If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.
Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. He specializes in immigration law and personal injury. For free consultation email or call (email@example.com / 1-877-456-9266)