USCIS recently issued an updated policy memo giving adjudicating officers more discretion to deny an application. This guidance took effect on September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications received after that date (except for DACA applications). The government is taking aim at what it views to be frivolous or meritless claims that delay the processing of applications. Previous guidance encouraged first requesting more evidence before denying those applications that are ineligible on their face. Officers should have only denied applications if there was no possibility of approval. Now, officers have the discretion to deny incomplete filings at the outset. It is meant to discourage placeholder, skeletal filings.
This policy change is an alarm bell for those who quickly assemble an incomplete application package with the hopes of fixing the problems down the road. Fortunately, our clients’ applications have always been prepared thoroughly. Therefore, they are not impacted by this policy change. As the government continues to clamp down on immigration matters and make the process more difficult through policy changes, it is as important as ever to submit a complete and accurate application.