\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 10 An Overview of the Adjudication Process. \ 10.11 Order of Processing.
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Order of Processing.
Routine and Expedited Cases
Generally, applications and petitions should be processed in the order in which they are received. Exceptions can, and should, be made for a number of different reasons, and sometimes those reasons may appear to conflict with one another. Reasons for prioritizing certain applications and petitions over others may relate to:
A statutory requirement, such as the requirement that joint petitions for removal of conditions under the marriage fraud amendments be interviewed within 90 days of filing and adjudicated within 90 days of being interviewed (
of the Act), or that L-1 petitions be adjudicated within 30 days of filing (section 214(a)(2)(C) of the Act);
-wide policy pertaining to the type of application or petition being filed, such as The
fiscal year priority that backlogs in a given type of application or petition be reduced to a specified level;
Current events in the homeland of the applicant or beneficiary, such as a natural disaster or civil war;
Imminent events which may effect the eligibility of the applicant or petitioner, such as the termination of a program whose duration is limited by statute or the "ageing out" of a dependent,
A need to coordinate actions with other branches of DHS, or with other agencies in order to meet common goals
To correct an injustice which may have occurred, or to prevent one which may be about to occur.
Cases Held for Submission of Additional Information
[Chapter 10.11(b) update effective June 18, 2007.]
When an application or petition provides insufficient information to make a decision, USCIS may request additional evidence. The request for evidence or notice of intent to deny must be in writing and must specify the type of evidence required. The request must state whether initial evidence or additional evidence is required. Alternatively, the basis for the proposed denial must give the applicant or petitioner adequate notice and sufficient information to respond. The request for evidence or notice of
intent to deny must indicate the deadline for response. See
8 CFR 103.2(b)(8)
USCIS may hold the case in abeyance while waiting for the applicant or petitioner to respond. However, the maximum response time for a request for evidence cannot exceed 12 weeks, and for a notice of intent to deny cannot exceed 30 days. Additional time to respond to a request for evidence or notice of intent to deny may not be granted. See
8 CFR 103.2(b)(8)
If USCIS receives a response, or the time to submit a response elapses, the case shall be returned to its original processing place. Returning the file to the original processing place will normally make the case ready for immediate adjudication.
for a detailed explanation of requests for evidence and responses to a notice to deny.
Cases Pending Investigation or Decision Deferred for Other Reasons
When a case is returned from Investigations, it should be returned to its place chronologically, according to receipt date, for processing. Cases sent to Investigations should remain on a local call- up system within Adjudications and reviewed periodically to determine if investigation is still warranted or if circumstances have changed. Similarly, if a decision on a case is deferred for any other reason, a call-up system should be maintained locally and the case reviewed to determine if circumstances hav
e changed sufficiently to warrant final action.