Trump-era US visa policy reversed by Biden administration

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The Biden administration has said that it will rescind a 2018, Trump-era US visa policy, which allowed US immigration officers to reject visa applications without first issuing a notice of intent to deny an applicant, a decision that will help to reduce barriers to legal immigration, according to campaigners.


Several US immigrant visa categories were affected by the policy, including the H1B, L1, H2B, J1, J2, I, F and O visas. In a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statement, the agency said it was updating its policies around its expedited processing of applications.

The statement also said that USCIS would be changing its guidance around Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), plus increasing the validity period for certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).


Adjudicative principles

The USCIS said that it will be returning to the adjudicative principles of a June 2013 memo that instructed US immigration officers to issue an RFE or NOID notice when additional evidence could potentially demonstrate eligibility for a US immigration benefit.

As part of the updated RFE and NOID policy, the USCIS has said it is revoking a July 2018 memo that permitted US immigration officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests instead of first issuing an RFE or NOID.

The updated policy will enable people making benefit requests to have the opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions. In general, a USCIS officer will issue an RFE or NOID when it’s determined that additional information or explanation may potentially establish eligibility for an immigration benefit. 


Access to legal immigration 

Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, said: “We are taking action to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system and will continue to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to citizenship, and that modernise our immigration system.”

Acting USCIS Director, Tracy Renaud, said: “These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to our nation’s legal immigration system and reduce burdens on non-citizens who may be eligible for immigration benefits.”

USCIS said that it is ‘committed to promoting policies and procedures that ensure that it operates a fair, efficient, and humane system that reflects America’s heritage as a land of opportunity for those who seek it’.

Under the terms of the 2018 policy, USCIS adjudicators were given full discretion to refuse applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or NOID when required initial evidence is not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility.

In addition, USCIS said that it would be increasing the current one-year validity period on both initial and renewal EADs to two years for certain adjustment of status applicants. Increasing the validity period on EADs for certain adjustment applicants is expected to reduce the number of employment authorization requests USCIS receives.

USCIS said that this will also help the agency to redirect limited resources to other priority areas. can help with US employment-based visas

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