In 2013, USCIS published guidance instructing officers to issue RFEs (Requests for Evidence) in cases involving insufficient evidence before denying such cases unless the officer determined that there was no possibility that the benefit requestor could overcome a finding of ineligibility by submitting additional evidence.
In 2018, USCIS rescinded this “no possibility” policy and issued guidance stating that officers may deny a petition or application for lack of initial evidence without first sending an RFE or NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny).
The 2018 policy change resulted in USCIS denying some petitions/applications even though they could have been approved if given a chance to provide additional evidence.
In order to reduce barriers that may impede access to immigration benefits and ensure the agency is fairly and efficiently adjudicating immigration benefit requests, USCIS is returning to the principles of the 2013 policy by issuing RFEs and NOIDs when additional evidence could demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit.
This policy will ensure that petitioners/applicants are given an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions and will help protect both petitioners/applicants and the agency from expending additional resources unnecessarily on motions to reopen/reconsider.
- Officers should generally issue an RFE or NOID if they determine there is a possibility the benefit requestor can show eligibility for the benefit sought by submitting additional evidence.
- Officers should not issue unnecessary RFEs and NOIDs, such as in cases where the officer determines the evidence already submitted establishes eligibility or ineligibility for the benefit sought.
- Provides guidance on when and how officers should issue RFEs and NOIDs and the limited circumstances in which officers may deny a case without first issuing an RFE or NOID.
- Explains timeframes and options for benefit requestors to respond to RFEs and NOIDs.