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Policy Memorandum

On July 5, 2018 (with effective date of June 28, 2018), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new policy guidance changing the way in which Notices to Appear, also known as NTAs, are issued

Note: On July 30, 2019, USCIS postponed implementation pending issuance of operational guidance

  • This change has expanded the circumstances under which the USCIS intends to issue a Notice To Appear (NTA) based on a denial of an appli cati on for immigration benefits.

  • What is an NTA: a formal charging document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which places foreign nationals in removal proceedings.

  • Under the new policy, USCIS will now be able to issue NTAs upon the denial of an application for immigration benefits. The language in the new Policy Memorandum is extremely broadand indicates that USCIS can issue NTAs to any person that is not lawfully present at the time that the immigration benefit is denied.

  • Once issued, recipients of an NTA must appear in front of an immigration judge, who will decide whether the charged foreign national will be removed from the United States or allowed to stay if eligible for some other form of relief.

  • Failure to appear in immigration court will result in an in-absentia order of removal against the foreign national. These types of removals bar re-entry into the U.S. for 5-10 years.

  • Who is impacted: USCIS is now mandated to issue NTAs to “ every person who is ‘not lawfully present’ in the United States at the time an application, petition, or request for an immigration benefit is denied.”

  • What is not very clear? Wait and see.

    • This NTA guidance is quite new and it’s unclear how USCIS will handle issuance of NTA’s. Will USCIS issue NTA’s on the same day of denial or will they send later? If they send later and candidate is not in US, how it will work?