Good USCIS News: Policy Pronouncements Recognize Real-Life Customer Service Issues and try to Fix Them

New polices going into effect today will address application processing delays and their negative impacts on applicants, including loss of work authorization due to USCIS processing delays; delayed foreign national start dates due to USCIS adjudication delays and RFEs; and giving more applicants more opportunities to request that their applications be expedited.

Work Permit Validity Extended: from 1 year to 2 years for Adjustment of Status Applicants (Category C-09). This will greatly reduce the inconvenience or applying for new permits and job loss due to expiring permits;

Expedite Criteria Enhanced: to include nonprofits when the request is in furtherance of the social or cultural interests of the United States. This provision recognizes the high cost of Premium Processing ($2500) for nonprofits and indicates that they can request an expedite even when premium processing is available for the application type.

Returns to pre 2018 RFE and NOID Policy and Enhances it: USCIS will use more favorable discretion to issue Requests for Evidence (RFE) Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) to Applicants. It has also authorized USCIS Adjudicators to perform additional research, including looking up a company’s website, as well as contacting the applicant to “interview” them to clarify points of information in the application.

These policy changes continue the Biden Administration’s program of restoring sanity to the USCIS adjudications process. We continue to hope for large-scale legislative reform, but in the meantime, these changes are a true breath of fresh air being pumped in to the USCIS adjudications process and a lifeline for many foreign nationals who are here legally.