I’ve Received a Notice of Intent to Deny my Immigration Petition (“NOID”) from USCIS, now What?
You’ve submitted a benefit request to USCIS, and in response you’ve received a Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOID”). This is, obviously, worrying, and a well-considered response is needed. Here are seven things to keep in mind as you digest the news of receiving the NOID and plan for what’s next.
- First, relax and breathe. All is not lost, and there is still a chance of succeeding. The good news is that you are being provided a chance to respond, whereas USCIS could have denied the benefit request without providing the opportunity to respond. While a degree more serious, a Notice of Intent to Deny is akin to a Request for Evidence “RFE” in that it means that USCIS seeks additional information or explanation within a certain time frame.
- Note the NOID Due Date in your calendar as it is an inflexible “hard” deadline. If you received the Notice of Intent to Deny via mail, you are afforded an additional 3 days to respond. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as of the time of writing, USCIS is also providing an additional 60 days past the due date mentioned in the NOID to respond. This applies to NOIDs dated between March 1 and Sept. 11, 2020.
- Once you’ve done the above, show the NOID notice to your immigration attorney, or meet with an experienced immigration attorney to have them review it as soon as possible.
- Follow the attorney’s instructions in gathering all of the relevant documents needed to form a strong response to the NOID. Relevant documents can stretch back years or even decades. In a NOID pertaining to an I-130 where a previous bona fide marriage is being questioned, documents from long ago may be needed. In a NOID pertaining to an I-129 nonimmigrant status, such as H-1B or L-1, previous proof of employment or educational documents may be needed. Your attorney will likely advise that the entire previous immigration file should be reviewed in crafting the NOID response.
- Think outside of the box. In considering the documents that may be useful in responding to the NOID, think of any and all evidence that may support your position. There is no limit as to the amount or type of evidence that can be submitted, within reason. Brainstorm with your attorney and follow their instructions as to individuals who might be able to provide notarized affidavits or other relevant evidence—including some you might not have thought of—in responding to the NOID.
- Keep the big picture and your long-term immigration goals in mind. Once the NOID has been prepared and submitted to USCIS, ensure that you understand your overall status and plan for all contingencies. For example, if you have an I-130/I-485 pending concurrently, remember the NOID can be pending for months or years. During that time, you are eligible for extensions of your work and travel authorization document, so ensure this is timely filed about 6 months before current expiration. As another example, if you receive a NOID related to an I-129 nonimmigrant work petition whilst in F-1 student status, be sure to extend your I-20 so that you remain in a lawful status in case the I-129 is ultimately not approved.
- Understand that there is additional review possible after the NOID. If the NOID response is unsuccessful, an Appeal can be submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia (for I-130 denials) and to the Administrative Appeals Office in Washington D.C. (for I-129 denials). In such appeals, an entirely different officer in an entirely different office will review the decision of the USCIS officer rendering the decision in the NOID case.
While receiving a Notice of Intent to Deny is serious and unpleasant, due process affords you the opportunity of a strong response. By working through the steps above and with the guidance of experienced counsel, do ensure your response to the NOID is made as strong as possible based on the facts and circumstances of your case.