On January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withdrew a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; (USCIS) Policy Memorandum which required USCIS to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court when they denied U Visa and T Visa petitions, VAWA-self petitions, and related green card applications in certain situations. The prior policy required USCIS to issue an NTA when the applicant was not lawfully present in the United States or he or she fell within a specified enforcement category.

DHS has instructed USCIS to revert to its prior policy regarding the issuance of NTAs. Under that policy, USCIS will only issue NTAs in limited situations. USCIS will no longer issue NTAs to denied applicants solely on the basis that they are not lawfully present in the United States. Instead, USCIS will issue an NTA to denied U Visa and T Visa petitioners, VAWA-self petitioners, and related green card applicants only if the file contains evidence of fraud.

USCIS can refer a denied case to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if information in the applicant’s file raises “egregious public safety” concerns, which includes cases involving criminal conduct or gang membership by the applicant, among others.