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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a set of policy revisions effective immediately that are designed to reduce administrative barriers to those seeking immigration benefits.

The policy revision guidance reinstates a 2013 policy in which officers are instructed to issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent for Denial (NOIDs) in cases filed with initially insufficient evidence unless there is no possibility that additional evidence would establish eligibility for the immigration benefit. This new policy replaces a 2018 policy that allowed officers to deny benefit requests outright for lack of initial evidence.

USCIS will now permit Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for most adjustment of status applicants to be issued for a maximum of two years rather than the current one year. The extension applies to all applicants applying for adjustment under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The new guidance provides clarity regarding criteria for whether an immigration case may be generally afforded expedited treatment due to severe financial loss. USCIS clarified that a company seeking to expedite adjudication of a case may demonstrate severe financial loss if it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or is being required to lay off employees. Further, an individual may be able to demonstrate severe financial loss by establishing a job loss, but their need to obtain employment authorization alone, without other compelling factors, would not warrant expedited treatment.

SW Law Group will keep you updated with any further details about this matter.