Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Request For Evidence’

19th September 2018

In what may be one of the most significant developments in immigration practice in quite some time, it recently came to this blogger’s attention via a policy memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that the USCIS is radically changing their policies with respect to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs). For those unaware, an RFE is issued in a case where the adjudicating officer of an immigration petition is not fully satisfied that the beneficiary and/or the petitioner meet the legal requirements. An NOID is similar and may allow the petitioner to rectify a petition notwithstanding prior inadequacy.

That being stated, the procedures regarding issuance of RFEs and NOIDs have been fundamentally altered pursuant to policy memorandum PM-602-0163 dated July 13, 2018 entitled “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM)Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b)” The provisions of this memo dictate new guidelines for adjudicators of immigration petitions. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion.

The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate.

Although the ramifications may not be immediately apparent, especially to those who do not deal with the immigration apparatus on a regular basis, this change in policy is rather profound. The prior doctrine which required that an adjudicator denying a petition without first issuing an RFE or NOID show that there was “no possibility” that a case could receive approval provided a great deal of limitation upon an adjudicator’s ability to unilaterally deny an immigration petition. The removal of this policy encumbrance allows future adjudicators a great deal more discretion in issuing immediate petition denials. The sources noted above go on to note that the primary reason for the change in policy stems from the desire to discourage so-called “placeholder” or “frivolous” filings (which under certain circumstances is laudable as such cases can unnecessarily clog up the immigration processing channels), but there could be significant ramifications for cases which would not necessarily fit those descriptions.

For example, in K-1 visa petitions it is now more likely that more denials will be issued in the future in such cases where it has not been incontrovertibly proven that the couple has in fact met in person within 2 years of filing for the benefit (the so-called Meeting Requirement). Furthermore, in cases involving petitioning for a fiance visa it seems logical to infer that future adjudications may result in a  denial where the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that both parties maintain the requisite intention to marry in the USA.

It is difficult to speculate at this time exactly how this change in policy will be implemented and the full consequences associated therewith. However, two things are clear: 1) visa petitions are likely to be more susceptible to denial moving forward and 2) those thinking of undertaking a do-it-yourself approach to petitioning for a fiancee or marriage visa are well advised to seriously consider the negative aspects of failing to seek professional legal assistance in immigration matters as failure to fully delineate a case clearly and concisely in the initial petition for immigration benefits could result in a denial and thereby a loss of time and resources.

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16th February 2011

It has recently come to this blogger’s attention through anecdotal evidence that there may have been a relatively significant increase in the number of I-601 waiver petitions filed by American Citizens in both the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the greater area that comprises the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Apparently, the majority of these cases are being handled pro se (without attorney representation). It would appear that these pro se filings are being subjected to Requests For Evidence (RFE) which can be time consuming. Furthermore, there are some who also speculate that such petitions could see a higher denial rate.

Those who read this blog may have taken notice of the fact that this blogger takes the practice of United States Immigration law seriously. That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with American Citizens unilaterally petitioning their government for United States Immigration benefits pro se. This blogger has no problem with those who wish to seek immigration benefits without the assistance of counsel, but those pondering this course of action should be aware of the risks. First, the assistance of an American attorney in the US Immigration process can prove highly beneficial as such a professional can provide insight into the dynamics of immigration law as well as the regulations which are used to enforce that law.

Immigration law could be likened to dermatological medicine insofar as the routine cases that arise in an immigration context are sometimes easily taken care of by the petitioner or beneficiary themselves much the same way that a case of acne could be alleviated without the need to visit a dermatologist. Meanwhile, some issues which arise in immigration law can be extremely complicated and therefore such matters may require the assistance of one with a great deal of experience in matters pertaining to American immigration law. This state of affairs brings to mind a hypothetical situation involving dermatologists who specialize in skin cancers and various other skin maladies which are not commonly known to laymen. To take this hypothetical further, a patient afflicted with skin cancer is usually unable to treat themselves. To use this hypothetical as an analogy in an immigration context: those seeking an I-601 waiver are in a situation, similar to the skin cancer patient mentioned above, which may require professional assistance as failure to retain an attorney could increase the chances that an I-601 waiver (or for that matter an I-212 waiver) will be ultimately denied.

The standard of proof in an I-601 waiver is “extreme hardship” and this standard is not easily overcome. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has noted that “extreme hardship” does not mean “mere separation,” of the couple, but is, in fact, something more substantial. American Immigration lawyers expend a great deal of time and effort to see that I-601 waiver petitions are well founded. As a result, such petitions may be at a lower risk of being denied. Bearing this in mind, no attorney, or anyone else for that matter, can foresee what the outcome of a waiver petition will be. Those reading this posting should not misconstrue the author’s message by inferring that retaining an attorney will result in a guaranteed outcome as this is simply not the case. Should an I-601 waiver petition be denied, then it may be possible to have the case reconsidered in a Motion to Reopen or through an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Under such circumstances, the case will be adjudicated based upon an “abuse of discretion” standard which is not easily overcome. Therefore, submitting a well founded I-601 waiver petition the first time can be imperative for those wishing to have a legal grounds of inadmissibility waived.

As always, those seeking representation or counsel in matters related to American immigration should check the credentials of anyone in Southeast Asia claiming expertise in such matters. Only an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States is entitled charge fees to represent clients before the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, or American Missions abroad.

For related information about this issue please see: US Visa Denial.

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26th August 2010

Fee Increases for the L1 Visa

Posted by : admin

The United States L-1 visa can be a very useful travel document for those who wish to work in the United States for a multi-national corporation. In recent months, many of the fees associated with visa processing have increased. For example, the Consular Processing fees for the K1 visa and the K3 Visa have risen as demands upon resources required an adjustment of costs payable by customers. Other visa categories were also subjected to fee increases.

The L1 visa is the latest subject of a fee increase as noted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in this quotation from a press release distributed through their network:

WASHINGTON—On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which contains provisions to increase certain H-1B and L-1 petition fees. Effective immediately, Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14, 2010, and will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2014.

These additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States in H-1B or L (including L-1A, L-1B and L-2) nonimmigrant status. Petitioners meeting these criteria must submit the fee with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed:

• Initially to grant an alien nonimmigrant status described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15), or

• To obtain authorization for an alien having such status to change employers. USCIS is in the process of revising the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), and instructions to comply with Public Law 111-230.

To facilitate implementation of Public Law 111-230, USCIS recommends that all H-1B, L-1A and L-1B petitioners, as part of the filing packet, include the new fee or a statement of other evidence outlining why this new fee does not apply. USCIS requests that petitioners include a notation of whether the fee is required in bold capital letters at the top of the cover letter. Where USCIS does not receive such explanation and/or documentation with the initial filing, it may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine whether the petition is covered by the public law. An RFE may be required even if such evidence is submitted, if questions remain. The additional fee, if applicable, is in addition to the base processing fee, the existing Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, and any applicable American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee, needed to file a petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), as well as any premium processing fees, if applicable.

A Request For Evidence (RFE) is analogous to the 221g refusal in that both are requests for further documentation. These types of requests essentially “freeze” the application or petition until the Petitioner, Beneficiary, or their attorney provides the requested documentation or evidence. That said, waiting too long to respond can cause problems as the case could be deemed to have been abandoned. Generally, such forms are issued when the adjudicating officer feels that further evidence is necessary in order to decide the case.

Those interested in learning more about RFEs and visa refusals should see: US Visa Denial

To learn more about L1 visas in the context of American LLC formation please see: US Company Registration.

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16th April 2010

For related information in English please see: Request for Evidence.

ในกระทู้คราวก่อน เราได้พูดถึงคำขอวีซ่าเบื้องต้นสำหรับคนรักต่างชาติของบุคคลสัญชาติอเมริกัน ในกระทู้นี้เราจะพูดถึงสิ่งที่ต้องทำในกรณีที่คุณได้รับแบบขอหลักฐานเพิ่มเติมจาก USCIS หลังจากที่ USCIS ได้รับคำขอของบุคคลสัญชาติอเมริกัน ก็จะส่งหนังสือแจ้งที่เรียกว่า Notice of Action 1 หรือ NOA 1 ให้ สำหรับคำขอวีซ่าที่ประสบความสำเร็จก็จะมีการส่ง Notice of Action 1 ตามด้วย Notice of Action 2 หรือหนังสือแจ้งการอนุมัติ อย่างไรก็ตาม ยังคงมีกรณีที่ USCIS เรียกเอกสารเพิ่มเติม ในกรณีที่เรียกหลักฐานเพิ่มเติม (RFE ) ส่วนใหญ่มักเกิดมาจากการที่เอกสารที่ยื่นไปนั้นใช้ไม่ได้ ซึ่งเป็นเหตุผลที่ว่าทำไมต้องยื่นเอกสารที่มีความชัดเจนในการยื่นคำขอวีซ่าต่อ USCIS

เพื่อแก้ปัญหาการได้รับแบบเรียกหลักฐานเพิ่ม คู่รักหลายๆคู่เลือกใช้บริการทนายความด้านกฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองเพื่อช่วยยื่นคำขอวีซ่าให้ ทนายความที่มีประสบการณ์สามารถทำนายได้ว่าเจ้าหน้าที่คาดหวังจะดูเอกสารอะไรในการที่จะพิจารณาคำขอให้ อย่างไรก็ตามการจ้างทนายไม่ได้การันตีว่าคุณจะไม่ได้รับแบบเรียกขอหลักฐานเพิ่ม แต่ถ้าคุณได้รับแบบดังกล่าว ทนายความก็สามารถดำเนินการแทนคุณได้อย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ

แบบเรียกขอหลักฐานเพิ่มจะบอกว่าเอกสารอะไรที่ขาดไปหรือใช้ไม่ได้ หลังจากที่ได้ระบุตัวเอกสารแล้ว เจ้าหน้าที่จะพิจารณาว่าคุณจะแก้ปัญหานั้นได้อย่างไรและจะมีกำหนดยื่นเอกสารภายในระยะเวลาเท่าไรโดยการส่งคำขอเอกสารเพิ่มเติมให้แก่คุณ

อนึ่ง RFE ก็คล้ายๆกับแบบปฏิเสธวีซ่า 221 (g) จากสถานทูตสหรัฐ สาเหตุที่มันเหมือนกันก็เพราะว่าผู้ขอวีซ่าต้องยื่นเอกสารที่ถูกร้องขอก่อนที่จะมีการอนุมัติให้ดำเนินการใดๆต่อไปได้ ความต่างก็คือ เจ้าหน้าที่ที่ออกแบบคำขอ ในขณะที่ แบบ 221g นั้นออกโดยเจ้าหน้าที่สถานทูตแต่ แบบขอหลักฐานเพิ่มเติมออกโดยเจ้าหน้าที่กระทรวงความมั่นคง ในกรณีทั้งสองเอกสารที่ถูกร้องขอเพิ่มเป็นไปเพื่อประกอบการพิจารณาเพื่อให้มั่นใจว่าผู้รับผลประโยชน์ในคำขอวีซ่าสมควรได้รับสิทธิประโยชน์จริง

ในกรณีคำขอวีซ่า K1 เจ้าหน้าที่มักเรียกหลักฐานที่แสดงความสัมพันธ์ที่แท้จริงหรือสถานภาพของฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง ในกรณีคำขอวีซ่า K3 หรือ CR1 เจ้าหน้าที่มักขอหลักฐานยืนยันสถานภาพสมรสของคู่รักหรือสถานภาพของบุคคลก่อนการสมรสจะมีขึ้น

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12th February 2010

For those who have gone through the United States Immigration process or those who are thinking of doing so, the acronym USCIS will become familiar if it is not already. USCIS stands for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. This organization adjudicates many Immigrant visa petitions before they are sent to the the Department of State. In many ways USCIS carries out their duties in an effective and efficient manner. However, there are some situations in which some individuals feel that USCIS oversteps their authority.

In a recent blog posting, the past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association wrote about the issues surrounding USCIS and dereliction of what some perceive as the proper interpretation of Federal law:

“[T]wice in the last two months the USCIS has issued “memos” that so dramatically change the framework under which these key programs operate, that it has clearly violated the APA [Administrative Procedure Act].”

The posting went into further detail below:

“USCIS has taken ignoring Federal Law to a new level with its recent actions. Of course we all know that the USCIS has been illegally changing the rules as they apply to individual cases for the last several years by engaging in “rulemaking by RFE;” making ridiculous requests for evidence, not based on any legal requirement, but rather, based upon someone’s bizarre notion of what they think the law should be, not what it really is. Now, however, with the two newest “Neufeld Memos” the USCIS has simply gone too far…The Neufeld memo on the EB-5 program, essentially makes that job creation program unworkable, and the Neufeld Memo on the H-1B program, literally changes decades of established policy on the most important visa allowing U.S. companies to hire foreign nationals.”

With regard to the employment visa issues noted above, the details of the memos in question have yet to be resolved. However, based upon anecdotal evidence from some practitioners, there does appear to be something of a rise in the number of Requests for Evidence (RFE) being promulgated by USCIS. This author can neither confirm nor deny that RFEs are on the rise, but it leads to the issue of RFE avoidance. Particularly in family visa cases, such as petitions for a K1 visa or a K3 Visa, a couple must be separated during the US visa process. Therefore, if an RFE is avoided it could mean that the couple will be reunited more quickly. As a result, proper petition preparation is necessary in order to have a better chance of forestalling an RFE.

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11th October 2009

In a previous post, we discussed the initial submission of an application for a United States visa for a foreign loved one. In this post we will discuss what needs to be done in the event of a request for evidence from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). After USCIS receives an American Citizen’s US Immigration application, they send out a receipt notice commonly referred to as Notice of Action 1, or NOA 1. In the vast majority of ultimately successful cases the Notice of Action 1 is followed by the Notice of Action 2 approval notice. However, there are cases where an adjudicating officer at USCIS requests further documentation. In most Requests for Evidence (RFE) the deficiency of evidence is based upon the fact that one or more of the documents was illegible. This is why clearly legible documentation should always be provided when submitting an application to USCIS.

In order to forestall receiving an RFE, many couples opt to retain an Immigration attorney to assist in the filing of a United States visa application. An experienced United States Immigration attorney can predict what the officers will wish to see in order to favorably adjudicate a petition. However, simply retaining an attorney will not guarantee that a Request For Evidence will not be made, but if an RFE is sent, then the attorney can handle it and deal with the documentary deficiency.

The RFE will specify which documents are either missing or illegible. After specifying the deficiency, the RFE will go on to state how the deficiency can be dealt with and the deadline the applicant and petitioner will have to remedy the problem by sending the requested documentation.

In a way, an RFE is similar to a 221g refusal from the United States Embassy. The reason these requests are similar is that both require that the applicant or petitioner provide further documentation before an approval will be granted. The major difference between these two requests is the fact that officers of the United States Department of State issue 221 g requests while officers of the United States Department of Homeland Security issue requests for evidence. In both cases, the documentation is requested usually in an effort to conduct due diligence to ensure that the Immigration benefit should be accorded to the beneficiary.

In K1 visa applications the adjudicating officer is usually requesting evidence that shows the bona fides of the relationship or the status of one of the parties. In K3 or CR1 visa applications, the officer is usually seeking evidence regarding the couple’s marital status or the status of the parties before the marriage occurred.

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