Today USCIS issued an update regarding its Notice to Appear (NTA) policy memorandum. As you may recall from our last NTA article, a Notice to Appear is an official charging document that initiates deportation proceedings against a foreign national. An individual who is “served” with or delivered an NTA must appear before an immigration judge to face removal proceedings, a process which will determine whether he/she should be removed from the United States or allowed to remain in the United States legally. USCIS first issued this memo on June 28th, but postponed the implementation of the memo on July 30th until operational guidance was issued.
The update from USCIS stated that it will begin implementing the June 28th NTA Policy Memo beginning October 1, 2018. Starting on this date, USCIS may issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
USCIS states that it will send denial letters for status-impacting applications that ensures benefit seekers are provided adequate notice when an application for a benefit is denied. If applicants are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will provide details on how applicants can review information regarding their period of authorized stay, check travel compliance, or validate departure from the United States.
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 and will continue the current processes of using our discretion in issuing NTAs on these case types.
You can find the updated USCIS Notice to Appear Policy Memorandum page here.
We will continue to update our website as we receive more information.
By Kristina M. Hernandez
Kristina is an associate attorney at Reddy & Neumann. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2011. Her practice includes representing companies and individuals with employment-based visa petitions and applications.