New USCIS Policy on Notices to Appear

On June 28, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its policy on Notices to Appear (NTA). An NTA is a document placing an individual in deportation proceedings and instructing him or her to appear before an immigration judge.


Under the new policy, USCIS can issues NTAs in a wider range of cases. The policy requires that USCIS issue an NTA in the following category of cases:

  • Cases in which, upon the denial of an application or petition, an applicant is unlawfully present in the United States.
  • Cases where fraud or misrepresentation is substantiated, and/or where an applicant abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits. USCIS will issue an NTA even if the case is denied for reasons other than fraud.[2]
  • Criminal cases where an applicant is convicted of or charged with a criminal offense, or has 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 may refer cases involving serious criminal activity to ICE before adjudication of an immigration benefit request pending before USCIS without issuing an NTA.[3]
  • Cases in which USCIS denies a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on good moral character grounds because of a criminal offense.[4]

This policy has not been implemented yet.[5] Any news of the date of implementation should be posted on Once implemented, this policy will have the effect of increasing individuals in deportation proceedings and increasing the immigration court docket.

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