USCIS May Deny Applications and Petitions Without Issuing an RFE

August 30, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued an important USCIS policy memorandum, effective September 11, 2018. 

What Has Changed

This memo reverses prior 2013 USCIS policy by which adjudicators were instructed to issue a "Request for Evidence" (RFE) asking for further information or documentation prior to denying a case. Immediate denials were issued only in rare cases when there was no possibility of resolution through submission of additional documentation.
New USCIS guidance terminates this previous policy. USCIS can deny an application or petition immediately at its discretion without allowing the applicant or petitioner the opportunity to submit additional evidence when the initial documentation provided was not deemed sufficient for approval.

Who is affected?

  • Those filing a USCIS form such as F-1 students and J-2 dependents filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
    • Pay careful attention to USCIS and ISSO instructions.
  • Academic departments sponsoring an employee for H-1B, O-1, or TN status with a Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
    • Initiate H-1B, O-1, TN requests 3-6 months in advance, to allow for more options in case a petition is denied. Experience has shown that there are more issues with sponsorship requests submitted at the last minute.
    • Be mindful of I-797 expiration dates by reviewing your current cases and ensuring extensions are filed 3-6 months in advance of expiration.
    • Use premium processing to ensure prompt USCIS adjudications.
    • Do not use previous versions of ISSO forms and sample letters saved on your desktop. Always access forms (wage forms, data sheet, letters of support) through our web links.   


We at ISSO must stress the importance of ensuring cases are properly and timely filed at the onset and are able to withstand rigorous USCIS scrutiny, especially given these updated adjudication guidelines. 
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.