NTA Policy On Hold --- For Now

Earlier this month, we wrote about two new major policy changes with U.S. immigration: 1) a policy memo was issued that directed USCIS to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) when a petition or application was denied, leaving the beneficiary or applicant out of status, and 2) a memo allowing USCIS officers to flat out deny a case, instead of issuing a request for evidence (RFE) if they believed information was missing or the person seeking the immigration benefit was not eligible.

However, late in the day on July 30th, USCIS announced that the NTA policy is basically on hold until the agency creates operational guidance to implement the new policy. The language of the announcement is posted below:

Policy Memorandum 602-0050.1, Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuances of Notices to
Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens, was issued on June 28, 2018 and
instructed USCIS components to create or update operational guidance on NTAs and Referrals to ICE
(RTIs), to be issued within 30 days of the Policy Memorandum. Issuance of the operational guidance is
pending; therefore the implementation of PM 602-0050.1 is postponed until the operational guidance is

What does this mean?

Basically, this announcement is saying "ooopppps, we forgot to figure out how we would actually do this before we announced it. Just kidding for now - we're working on a plan to implement this and we'll get back to you." This does not mean that they are discarding the memo. Rather, it means that they are coming up with specific instructions for the agency's officers and other personnel on how to actually roll this out. I am hopeful that the operational guidance will be shared publicly. If and when the guidance is created and becomes available, we will certainly notify clients, and we will continue to provide strategic guidance.

Do you need assistance with a family-based or employment-based immigration matter? Please contact our office today to see how we may be able to assist you! Emily Sumner is an immigration lawyer in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. Please call us at 804-396-3412 or email us at info@sumnerimmigration.com. We look forward to hearing from you!