USCIS Notice to Appear (NTA) Policy (11/19/2018 Updates)

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) NTA policy memorandum went into effect on October 1, 2018.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings (deportation proceedings in immigration court) against a foreign national.

According to USCIS, the policy will not be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions at this time.

As of 11/19/2018, the policy affects humanitarian applications and petitions, such as:

  • U visa (crime victims) & qualifying family‬
  • T visa (trafficking victims‬)
  • VAWA (violence victims)‬ ‪
  • SIJS (abused children)‬ ‪
  • Refugee/asylee relatives‬

The policy will affect:

  • Cases where fraud or misrepresentation is substantiated, and/or cases where there is evidence the applicant abused any program related to receiving public benefits. USCIS will issue an NTA in these cases, even if they deny the case for reasons other than fraud.
  • Criminal cases where an applicant is charged with (or convicted of) a criminal offense, or committed acts that are chargeable as a criminal offense, even if the criminal conduct was not the basis for the denial or the ground of removability. USCIS will, where circumstances warrant, refer cases to ICE without issuing an NTA or adjudicating an immigration benefit.
  • Cases where USCIS denied a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on good moral character grounds because of a criminal offense.
  • Cases where an applicant will be unlawfully present in the United States when USCIS denies the petition or application.

According to the 09/27/2018 USCIS Teleconference Q&A, USCIS will not issue an NTA immediately upon denial of a benefit request, but will wait for the expiration of the period in which to file a permitted appeal or motion before issuing an NTA (typically 30 days or 18 days for revocations). Read more here.

Read the June 28, 2018 Notice to Appear (NTA) policy memorandum here.

Read the September 26, 2018 USCIS announcement here. 

Read the November 8, 2018 USCIS announcement here.