U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 09, 2021 that it has issued new policy updates in the USCIS Policy Manual to -
Improve request for evidence (RFE) and notice of intent to deny (NOID) guidance;
Increase the validity period for employment authorization documents (EADs) for pending adjustment of status applications.
Fewer RFEs & NOIDs
USCIS said that it is rescinding the July 2018 memo from the Trump administration that permitted agency officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests instead of first issuing an RFE or NOID. USCIS will go back to using the June 2013 memo that instructed the adjudicating officer to issue an RFE or NOID when additional evidence could potentially demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit.
Would this result in less number of RFEs?
Most likely. This policy change primarily makes sure that the cases are not rejected because of innocent mistakes and that emphasizes that officers should not issue unnecessary RFEs and NOIDs.
Increased time on EADs for I-485 (Change of Status)
The updated policy guidance will increase the validity period on the EADs to two years instead of one year. This would reduce the burden of renewals on both USCIS and the applicants. Both the initial EADs and renewals (which are free) will be issued for two years. USCIS made the decision because the current median processing time for certain adjustment of status applications is close to or greater than 1 year.
Would my EAD be issued for two years if I am on OPT (F-1 visa)?
No, unfortunately not. This rule is only for folks who have an on going green card process. But, hey, you'll get there soon and then this rule would be beneficial. ;-)
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