USCIS set to continue new policy memo for issuing Notices To Appear

BEGINNING November 19, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may issue Notices to Appear (NTA) based on denials of certain applications, such as Applications for T Non-immigrant status, U Non-immigrant status, Petition for Amerasian or Widower, and Application to Register Permanent Residence (Adjustment of Status).

The most common of these applications is the Adjustment of Status Application, for beneficiaries who are present in the United States. According to the New Policy Memo issued on June 28, 2018, if certain applications are denied and the applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners are “no longer in a period of authorized stay and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA.” USCIS will send out denial letters for applications or petitions that are denied “to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.”

To recap, a Notice to Appear, or an NTA, is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge and is the first step in starting removal proceedings. According to this Policy Memorandum, USCIS may issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to Adjustment of Status Applications and Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status. The June 2018 NTA Policy Memo will not be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications and petitions at this time. Existing guidance for these case types will remain in effect.

USCIS will continue to prioritize cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns. There has been no change to the current processes for issuing NTAs on these case types, and USCIS will continue to use its discretion in issuing NTAs for these cases.

As a reminder, being married to a United States Citizen or having a child who was born in the United States does not automatically “save” an individual from being placed in removal proceedings. Moreover, having a U.S. Citizen spouse or child(ren) does not automatically grant anyone lawful permanent resident status without first going through the process, beginning with filing certain applications with USCIS.

Now more than ever, we urge people to seek legal and competent counsel especially with regard to their immigration concerns, and in particular, in their immigration applications. Do not submit applications before first consulting with a licensed, experienced, and knowledgeable immigration attorney who will be able to walk you through your and your family’s immigration questions.

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Atty. Lilli Berbano Baculi is an associate attorney with Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) – a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; (916) 449-3923; lbaculi@ctvattys.com; www.chuatinsayvega.com.

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