Update: Policy on Notices to Appear (NTA)

Practice Areas

By Angelita Chavez-Halaka and Armando Escobedo


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that on November 19, 2018 it will continue implementation of their new policy guidance regarding Notices to Appear, also known as NTAs, and will now include additional applications.

What is an NTA?

A Notice to Appear is a formal charging document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which places foreign nationals in removal proceedings.

Once issued, recipients of an NTA must appear in front of an immigration judge, who will decide whether the charged foreign national will be removed from the United States or allowed to stay if eligible for some other form of relief.

Who is Impacted Under the New Policy?

As detailed on AILA’s “Talking Points” regarding this new policy guidance on NTAs (AILA Doc No. 17070675 | Dated July 6, 2018), USCIS is now mandated to issue NTAs to “every person who is ‘not lawfully present’ in the United States at the time an application, petition, or request for an immigration benefit is denied.”

Visa Categories Impacted by New NTA Policy

  • Petition for T Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-914/I-914A)
  • Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918/I-918A)
  • Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant (Form I-929)
  • Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) (Form I-360)
  • Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions)
  • Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (Form I-730)
  • Adjustment of Status Applications (Form I-485)
  • Petitions for Extension/Change of Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539)

Exceptions Under New Policy

Humanitarian and Employment-based petitions will not be affected at this moment until further notice.

USCIS also issued a separate DACA NTA Policy Memo specifically indicating that the previous information sharing policy on DACA is still in place.

What Can Employers and Employee Do?

This new policy has the potential for far reaching immigration consequences for anyone who is denied an immigration benefit before USCIS after the expiration of lawful status. Employers and employees should:

  • Be vigilant about expiration dates on current status
  • File for extensions 6 months prior to expiration
  • Consular process when appropriate
  • Stay informed about policy changes that may impact their workforce and
  • Consult with your Immigration Practitioner to address any questions or concerns you should have

As always, we will continue to monitor and provide updates on the implementation of the new policy.

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