SIJ Adjudications After Request for Evidence (RFE)

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a Policy Alert [PA-2023-32] updating its Policy Manual guidance regarding the adjudication time-frame Form I-360 immigration visa petitions for special immigrant juveniles [see category].

The USCIS is generally required under regulations to adjudicate petitions for special immigrant juvenile classification within 180 days of formal receipt of the Form I-360. On March 8, 2022, it promulgated regulations which allowed for tolling the 180-day adjudication period in certain cases. Specifically, the regulation provides that the 180-period is restarted of the Service requests initial evidence and is suspended if the Service requests additional evidence. However, on July 31, 2023, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a decision in Casa Libre/Freedom House v. Mayorkas [link] invalidating the tolling provisions of the regulation and holding that requests for evidence do not reset or extend the 180-day adjudication period.

The new USCIS Policy Manual guidance [link] follows the District Court decision. It provides that the USCIS generally issues decisions on special immigrant juvenile petitions within 180 days of the date on the Form I-797, Notice of Action. It removed language aligned with 8 C.F.R. 204.11(g)(1) which effectively provided for extending the 180-day limit in the event the Service issues a request for initial evidence or request for additional evidence.

We cover the adjudication of special immigrant juvenile petitions in detail in a separate article [see article].