Skip to main content

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.


No appendices available at this time.


POLICY ALERT - Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with the Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This guidance becomes effective October 2, 2020. For information regarding implementation, see our litigation summary.

Read More
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 - 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”].

POLICY ALERT - Use of Form G-325A

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to remove references to Biographic Information (Form G-325A).

Read More
POLICY ALERT - Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures and 245(a) Adjustment

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance addressing the general policies and procedures of adjustment of status as well as adjustment under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Read More