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USCIS Policy Updated to Eliminate Immigration Service Barriers

On June 9, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has updated its policy in order to be consistent with and support Executive Order (E.O.) 14012, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans”, released on February 2, 2021. Specifically, these updated policies are related to (1) expedited criteria when adjudicating qualifying immigration service requests; (2) modifying adjudicating principles related to the issuance of Requests-for-Evidence and Notices-of-Intent-to-Deny; and (3) increasing EAD validity periods from one year to two years for certain Adjustment of Status Applications.

Expedited Processing

Processing requests of pending immigration benefits with USCIS may be considered for expedited processing, but only if the requesting party is in urgent need of the immigration benefit to be adjudicated, and only under special situations. Such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The USCIS policy update expands the guidance that USCIS officers may utilize when deciding the merits of an expedited processing request.

Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

As previously announced by our office, in 2018 USCIS updated its policy by expanding the scope of USCIS discretionary decisions, specifically by restoring full discretion to adjudicating officers by permitting them to issue immediate denial decisions to applicants, without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This USCIS policy update rescinds that July 2018 memo, which permitted agency officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests without first issuing an RFE or NOID. As such, this policy change will restore the prior USCIS practice that generally speaking, a USCIS officer will likely first issue a RFE or NOID (when applicable), in order to establish eligibility for the requested immigration benefit, thereby providing requestors an opportunity to correct mistakes or unintentional omissions.

EAD Applications Pursuant to Adjustment Applications

Lastly, the USCIS policy update increases the current one-year validity period of initial and renewed Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from one year to two years, however only as the EAD application relates to certain Adjustment-of-Status applications  (Form I-485).

Please note that this update is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. More information can be found on the USCIS website and specific questions should be directed to a personal immigration attorney.

If you have any questions about this announcement, please contact the Office of International Services at or (+1) 312 996-3121, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.