The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office has recently changed one of its policies. This policy change could lead to your application being denied for making a mistake with your paperwork.

This USCIS adopted this new policy on September 11, 2018, and any application received after that date is subject to being impacted by the change.

So here’s what happened. In the past, if there was an issue with your application or if the USCIS determined you needed to provide more supporting evidence, they commonly would issue a Request for Evidence, also referred to as an RFE.

An RFE is a notice sent via postal mail to you regarding your immigration application. In the notice, the USCIS would explain why and what evidence they need from you in order to continue processing your case. This typically would happen whenever an applicant would forget to send in supporting evidence, send the wrong evidence, or insufficient evidence.

The previous policy encouraged immigration officers to send an RFE almost every time there was an issue with an application package. That’s what has changed, an immigration officer can now choose to deny your application instead of sending an RFE that would have given you a chance to correct the issue.

So, as of September 11, 2018, an immigration officer can deny an immigration application for having mistakes, omissions, or problems with supporting evidence.

The policy does state, “It is not intended to penalize filers for innocent mistakes or misunderstandings of evidentiary requirements.”

Here’s the big question, do you trust the government is able to stick to that statement?

The USCIS just gave full discretion to the immigration officer handling your case. They are the ones to decide if your application is denied for having a mistake. Even if they do not intend to penalize filers for innocent mistakes, the policy change is likely to lead to officers inadvertently penalizing filers for innocent mistakes.

A rejected or denied application can lead to huge delays in gaining the immigration benefit you’re seeking, cost a lot of money, and in extreme cases, lead to deportation.

What you can do

There are a couple of options you could pursue to try to avoid any issues with your application that could eventually cost you. Immigration attorneys are always an option. They do, however, often come at a high cost.

Another option is using technology like FileRight to shield you from mistakes on your application. FileRight’s immigration application preparation service allows you to complete immigration applications online. The system also checks your answers for inconsistencies and mistakes as you work.

FileRight’s mission is to ensure you complete your application correctly. The software guides users step-by-step through the immigration application.

After you’re done answering the questions you’ll print out your application filing packet that will include customized instructions. The instructions will prompt you on all the supporting documents and evidence you’ll need to include with your application.

These filing instructions will let you know exactly how to compile the application to ensure it’s up to the USCIS’ standards.

Bottom line, if your application is correctly filed with all the required supporting evidence, this new policy will not impact you. You won’t have to worry about the immigration officer denying your application because of a mistake.

FileRight offers a variety of services for many immigration applications. The most popular being the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, Form I-90, Application to Renew or Replace a green card, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Starting with FileRight is easy. You’ll complete a quick eligibility quiz that ensures you’re eligible to file the application using this technology. Once you complete the brief eligibility quiz you can get started on your application right away.