USCIS Begins Implementing New NTA Policy For Certain Denied Humanitarian Applications and Petitions

On November 8, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services published a news release stating that it is continuing to implement its June 28, 2018, Policy Memorandum (PM), titled “Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens” [PDF version].

As we discussed in a previous post, the USCIS began implementing this PM for certain denied status-impacting applications on October 1, 2018 (discussed below) [see blog]. You can read about the memorandum in detail in our full article on the subject [see article].

Beginning on November 19, 2018, the USCIS may also issue Notices to Appear based on denials of the following applications and petitions:

Form I-914/I-914A, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status;
Form I-918/I-918A, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status;
Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Woemn Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions);
Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions (when the beneficiary is present in the United States);
Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U1 Nonimmigrant; and
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (based on underlying form types listed above)

The USCIS had already begun implementing the PM for s Forms I-485, Forms I-539, and other status-impacting applications on October 1, 2018. It stated that it will not implement the PM for employment-based petitions at this time. Accordingly, preexisting guidance for employment-based petitions remains in effect.

The USCIS may issue Notices to Appear to applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners covered by the PM whose applications or petitions are denied if they are no longer in a period of authorized stay and fail to depart the United States. The news release states that the “USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these applications and petitions to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.”

Notwithstanding the PM, the “USCIS will continue to prioritize cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns for referral for removal proceedings.” The new PM does not change the USCIS's referral policies on those case types. The USCIS will continue to issue Notices to Appear in those cases in its discretion.

The news release concludes by stating that it will continue to take an incremental approach to implementing the PM. We will continue to update the website with more information as it becomes available.

You may learn more about some of the petitions that are now affected in our website's sections on victims of violence immigration [see category], asylum and refugee protection [see category], family immigration [see category], and special immigrant juveniles [see category]. Furthermore, most adjustment of status petitions were covered under the original implementation of the PM [see category]. The first implementation also covered most applications for an extension or change of nonimmigrant status. How the PM may affect any individual case will depend on the facts and circumstances of that case. Any individual seeking relief, protection, or benefits under one of the categories now covered by the PM should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance, including on how the PM affects or should affect how he or she should go forward.