Chapter 11 - Decision Procedures

A. Approvals​

If the adjustment application is properly filed, the applicant meets all eligibility requirements, a visa number is immediately available, and the applicant is admissible to the United States, then an officer may approve the application. 

1. Effective Date of Permanent Residence

For the majority of adjustment cases, the effective date of permanent residence is the date the adjustment application is approved. Certain sections of law, however, allow for the date of admission to roll back to an earlier date. 

2. Class of Admission

Each approved case is given a class of admission (COA) that identifies the section of law the applicant used to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident. For abbreviation purposes, a symbol or code represents that classification. 

Written notice of approval is mailed to the applicant and attorney or authorized representative, as applicable. Upon approval, the officer must confirm that the information is up-to-date and accurate in the relevant systems to ensure accurate statistical reporting and card production. In cases where an officer approved both the underlying petition and adjustment application, the officer should verify that the underlying petition shows as being approved in the system before approving the adjustment application.

If the officer determines that the case is approvable during the interview and the applicant anticipates immediate emergency travel, the officer may place a stamp as proof of temporary permanent resident status in the applicant’s passport, per local office guidelines. The stamp must have a dry seal affixed to be valid for travel.

B. Notices of Intent to Deny

If an officer is basing a decision in whole or in part on information of which the applicant is unaware or could not reasonably be expected to be aware, the officer must issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). [1] The NOID provides the applicant an opportunity to review and respond to the information, unless the information is classified. [2] 

C. Denials

An adjustment application must be denied for ineligibility. The application may also be denied for discretionary reasons, if applicable. Upon denial of a case, the officer must update ICMS and CLAIMS, and issue a notice of denial. Automatic denial notices are not issued by the systems. 

Denial on Basis of Ineligibility or for Discretionary Reasons

Basis of Denial

Denial Notice Should …


Explain what eligibility requirements are not met and why they are not met

Discretionary Reasons

(if applicable)

Explain the positive and negative factors considered, the relative weight given to each factor individually and collectively, and why the negative factors outweigh the positive factors


In addition, a denial notice should:

  • Provide the reasons for the denial in clear language that the applicant can understand;​

  • Cite to the relevant sections of law, regulations, and precedent decisions (if any); and

  • Explain that there is no right to appeal the denial but that the applicant may file a motion to reopen or reconsider. 

With rare exception, there is no appeal from the denial of adjustment of status. [3] USCIS, however, may certify the case for review by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). [4] The applicant also may renew the adjustment application in any subsequent removal proceedings. [5] 


[^ 1] For example, investigative reports, information from informants, school records, or employment records not provided by the applicant.

[^ 2] See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(16)(iv).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 245.2(a)(5)(ii). However, see 8 CFR 245.3 providing the right of appeal for applicants under Section 13 of the Act of September 11, 1957, Pub. L. 85-316 (PDF), and 8 CFR 245.23(i) providing the right of appeal for applicants based on T nonimmigrant status. 

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 103.4(a)(4) and 8 CFR 103.4(a)(5). Certification to the AAO may be appropriate when a case involves complex legal issues or unique facts. An officer may consult through appropriate supervisory channels with the Office of Chief Counsel for guidance on certifying a decision to the AAO.

[^ 5] See INA 240A.

Current as of July 30, 2021