IMMEDIATE DENIALS ON FILED CASES
Beginning with any cases filed on or after September 11, 2018, immigration officers have been authorized to immediately deny any application that they decide has not been “properly filed.” This would include applications that do not have “sufficient documentation” or “do not appear to establish eligibility.”
Meaning: The government will not issue a request for additional documents to supplement applications, instead they can simply deny. There is no guidance on what constitutes an insufficient and ineligible application. Because this is a DISCRETIONARY policy, there will be inconsistencies in the way the policy is implemented.
Because of this, you should try to file before September 11, 2018.
IMMEDIATE ISSUANCE OF NOTICES TO APPEAR (NTA’S)
If you are Changing Status (you were in F-1 status, and are now filing an H-1B, or, if you are going from a B2 to E2, L1 to E2 etc) and your application for the new status is DENIED, and your old status is already EXPIRED, you are now unlawfully present. Rather than give you the opportunity to depart the United States on your own, which has long been the practice, USCIS will now issue an NTA and you will be expected to appear in Immigration Court for removal proceedings.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have been on the fence about filing something (marriage, citizenship etc), do it well, and do it now. Also, if you have a looming expiration date coming up, file as soon as possible, and if possible, expedite processing.