Effective June 9, USCIS announced new policies on expedited processing, Requests for Evidence (RFEs), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), and employment authorization documents. These policies seek to alleviate the negative impact of application process delays and offer applicants additional opportunities to request that their applications be expedited. In addition, the new policies demand more favorable discretion from USCIS officers when issuing RFEs and NOIDs to applicants.
Updated Expedited Processing
On a case-by-case basis, USCIS will consider expedite requests by nonprofit organizations when the request is in furtherance of the social or cultural interest of the United States. This provision allows nonprofits to request an expedite even when premium processing is available for that application. This accommodation reflects the agency’s better understanding of the burden associated with the high cost of premium processing ($2,500) for nonprofits.
Renewed RFE and NOID Policies
USCIS will use pre-2018 RFE and NOID principles when reviewing applications. This means that adjudicators will use more favorable discretion to review applications, including performing additional research (i.e., reviewing a corporate website to verify information about the petitioner’s corporation) and conducting telephone inquiries of the applicant to clarify any information at issue. If the application is missing critical information or does not meet the eligibility standards for the intended immigration benefit, USCIS will first issue a detailed RFE to allow the applicant a chance to correct mistakes and unintentional omissions.
Extended Work Authorization Period
The current one-year validity period on initial and renewed work authorization permits will increase to two years for certain adjustment of status applicants. This increase will exponentially reduce the hassle of applying for new permits and loss of employment based on expiring permits.
These policy changes are prime examples of the Biden administration’s efforts to help reset immigration policies from the past few years.