Adjustment of Status: Initial Evidence and Documentation
The National Benefits Center (NBC) is now denying Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) applications without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). These negative decisions are based on a lack of sufficient initial evidence. In some instances, the evidence is included in the filing, but the case is still denied for not having the necessary or accurate evidence.
Usually, the NBC’s mailroom receives the application. After review, a USCIS adjudicating officer determines if the case is complete to continuum for an interview or if the initial evidence is insufficient. If there is a lack of evidence, the application package would be rejected and returned, or the filing would be accepted. An RFE or a NOID would subsequently be issued to request the missing evidence. Now, these recent ’Statutory Denials’ are happening more often. It may be a sign of further enforcement of the July 13, 2018, USCIS Policy Memorandum. The memorandum states in Chapter 10.5 that an adjudicator has substantial discretion to deny an application or petition when initial evidence is lacking without the issuance of an RFE or NOID.
With the intention of reducing the chances of denial for lack of initial evidence, our office carefully reviews all forms before submitting a petition or application and ensures the correct edition of the form is being used. We also confirm that all forms are fully completed and signed before filing a petition or application.
To make even more accessible to the USCIS officer, we include an Exhibit List on top of the filing to identify all submitted items. On your side, to make your process easier, our office will send you a list of all the initial evidence and any additional supporting evidence you may need for your case, as well as the correct filing fee(s) payment forms. If any required evidence is unavailable, including initial evidence and/or supporting documents (evidence of bona fide marriage, for example), we will send with your case a detailed explanation and any secondary evidence as support.
We also ensure the items submitted match those identified in the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) or Reciprocity and Civil Documents list. To prove a Lawful Admission or Parole we include a copy of all relevant entry and admission documents, I-94, CBP admission stamp, and visa stamp. If one or more of these items are not available, our office will guide you with what documents or declarations are needed for a successful case.
Tips for submitting secondary evidence and affidavits: If a required document, such as a birth or marriage certificate, does not exist or cannot be obtained, you can submit secondary evidence, such as a church or school records, pertinent to the facts at issue. If secondary evidence also does not exist or cannot be obtained, you can submit two or more affidavits, sworn to or affirmed by persons who are not parties to the petition who have direct personal knowledge of the event and circumstances.
Tips for demonstrating that a record is not available: If a record listed on the needed evidence checklist does not exist, you must submit an original written statement on government letterhead, establishing this from the relevant government or other authority. The statement must indicate the reason the record does not exist and indicate whether similar records for the time and place are available. However, a certification from an appropriate foreign government that a document does not exist is not required.
Please contact our office to request a list of documents necessary to your Adjustment of Status case. If you have any immigration-related questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach us, as we are happy to provide free initial consultations.
The Law Office of Nicholas J. Mireles is an experienced Los Angeles based U.S. Immigration law firm that has been practicing immigration law since 2013. Our background makes us uniquely well suited to help you with any issue relating to your immigration status.
Law Office of Nicholas J. Mireles, APC
411 West 7th St. Ste 310 - Los Angeles, CA 90014