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Chapter 3 - Jurisdiction

A. Coordination in Cases Involving Removal Proceedings

In some cases, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may notify USCIS of an application or petition pending with USCIS for a person in removal proceedings that must be timely adjudicated. In these cases, USCIS attempts to issue a decision on the relevant petition or application within 30 calendar days of receiving the necessary file(s) if the person is detained. If the person is not detained, USCIS attempts to issue a decision within 45 calendar days of receiving the file(s). If the next hearing in the removal case is scheduled within the 30- or 45-day time frame, USCIS typically works with ICE, to the extent possible, to complete action on the petition or application before the hearing date. USCIS maintains communication with ICE regarding the progress and status of the case. 

USCIS adjudicates all immigration benefit requests according to existing laws, regulations, and USCIS policies and procedures. If acting on ICE's request to adjudicate an application or petition might compromise those responsibilities or adherence to any law, regulation, policy or procedure, USCIS notifies ICE that the adjudication cannot be completed within the 30- or 45-day timeframe. USCIS continues to communicate with ICE about the status of the case. 

To the extent ICE currently coordinates directly with USCIS service centers with respect to benefit requests pending at the service centers, this guidance does not supersede or amend those arrangements. 

B. Transferring Jurisdiction

A pending application or petition may be transferred to a different office or jurisdiction for several reasons, including but not limited to:

  • The application or petition was not filed in the proper jurisdiction;

  • The benefit requestor now resides within another jurisdiction;

  • An application or petition pending at a service center appears to warrant an in-person interview at a field office; or

  • Regulations require transfer of an application or petition to another office for specific action.

For certain applications, such as an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), the applicant must meet certain jurisdictional requirements relating to residency as of the date of filing; transferring jurisdiction alone may not adequately address such filing deficiency.[1]


[^ 1] See Volume 12, Citizenship and Naturalization, Part D, General Naturalization Requirements, Chapter 6, Jurisdiction, Place of Residence, and Early Filing [12 USCIS-PM D.6].


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 0150.1 - 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


No forms available at this time.


No appendices available at this time.


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, 327.05 KB) 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”].