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Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background

A. Purpose

In administering U.S. immigration laws, one of USCIS’ primary functions is to adjudicate immigration benefit requests.

Upon proper filing, each benefit request must be thoroughly reviewed to determine jurisdiction, presence of required supporting documentation, existence of related files, and eligibility.

This part provides general guidance on USCIS’ adjudications across the various types of benefit requests that USCIS adjudicates. Variations in requirements and procedures may exist, depending on the benefit type, and are discussed in more detail in the program-specific parts of the Policy Manual.

B. Background [Reserved]

C. Legal Authorities

  • Homeland Security Act of 2002[1] 

  • Federal Records Act of 1950, 44 U.S.C. 31, as amended – Records management by federal agencies

  • Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, as amended[2] – Records maintained on individuals

  • Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552 – Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings

  • INA 103 – Powers and duties of the Secretary, Under Secretary, and Attorney General

  • 8 CFR 103.2 – Submission and adjudication of benefit requests 

  • INA 291 – Burden of proof upon alien

  • Delegation of Authority 0105.1 – Delegation to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

Footnotes


[^ 1] See Pub. L. 107–296 (PDF), 116 Stat. 2135 (November 25, 2002).

[^ 2] See Pub. L. 93-579 (PDF), 88 Stat. 1896 (December 31, 1974).

Resources

Legal Authorities

44 U.S.C. 31 - Federal Records Act of 1950, as amended - Records management by federal agencies

5 U.S.C. 552 - Freedom of Information Act - Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings

5 U.S.C. 552a - Privacy Act of 1974, as amended - Records maintained on individuals

8 CFR 103.2 - Submission and adjudication of benefit requests

Delegation of Authority 0105.1 - Delegation to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

INA 103, 8 CFR 103 - Powers and duties of the Secretary, the Under Secretary, and the Attorney General

INA 291 - Burden of proof upon alien

Pub. L. 107-296 (PDF) - Homeland Security Act of 2002

Forms

No forms available at this time.

Appendices

No appendices available at this time.

Updates

Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Incorporating Existing Guidance into the Policy Manual

This technical update is part of an initiative to move existing policy guidance from the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) into the Policy Manual. This update does not make major substantive changes but consolidates and incorporates existing AFM guidance into the Policy Manual, streamlining USCIS’ immigration policy while removing obsolete information. This guidance replaces Chapters 1, 3.4, 10.2, 10.3(a), 10.3(c), 10.3(e), 10.3(i), 10.4, 10.22, 11.1(c), 13, 14, 17, 23.8, 31.7, 33.10, 34.5, 35, 41.6, 42, 44, 56.1, 56.3, 56.4, 62, 81, 82, 83.1, 83.2, and 83.3 of the AFM, related appendices, and policy memoranda.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].