BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY
February 28, 2008 -
Some Questions & Answers:
applications are affected by this policy change?
in this policy are:
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust
Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility;
Application for Status as a Temporary Resident Under
Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act;
Application to Adjust from Temporary to Permanent Resident
Section 245A of Public Law 99-603).
has USCIS changed its national security requirements?
USCIS has not changed its background check policies for
Recently, the agency did modify its existing guidance for certain applications
(see above) where the immigration laws allow for the detention and removal
of individuals if actionable information from a FBI name
check response is received
No application for lawful permanent residence will be approved until a definitive
FBI fingerprint check and Interagency Border Inspection Services (IBIS) check
are completed and resolved favorably. (Please refer to the USCIS Immigration
Security Checks fact sheet on the USCIS website for more information.)
How has USCIS changed its adjudications requirements?
For these forms, including applications for lawful permanent
residence, USCIS will adjudicate the application based
on all required
evidence outlined in applicable
law and regulation if the application is otherwise approvable, outside of
normal processing times, and the FBI name check request
has been pending for more
than 180 days.
happens if USCIS later receives adverse information from
FBI name check?
A4. In the unlikely event that Department of Homeland Security,
(DHS) receives actionable adverse information from the
FBI name check after the application
is adjudicated, DHS may detain the applicant and initiate removal proceedings.
Why is this policy being implemented?
A5. This policy
change responds to a 2005 DHS Inspector General recommendation
that USCIS better align its background check screening policies with those
of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
this policy consistent with
the national security priorities of US CIS and the Department of Homeland
Applications for lawful permanent residence will not be
approved until a definitive FBI fingerprint check and Interagency
Border Inspection Services
(IBIS) check are completed and resolved favorably. In addition, in the
event that DHS receives actionable adverse information after the application
is approved, removal proceedings may be initiated.
many applications for lawful permanent residence are immediately
by this policy change?
A7. USCIS is aware of approximately
for permanent residence (1-485) cases that are otherwise approvable but
have an FBI name check pending. A portion of these cases
are both outside normal
processing times and have an FBI name check that has
been pending for more than 180 days.
These cases will be subject to processing under the new policy. USCIS anticipates
the majority of the cases that can now be adjudicated will be processed
by mid-March 2008.
this policy change affect naturalization applications?
No. There is no change in the requirement that FBI name
check, FBI fingerprint
and Interagency Border Inspection Services (IBIS) check results be obtained
and resolved prior to the adjudication of an Application
for Naturalization (N-400).
long will it take for US CIS to work through the cases
affected by the policy
A9. USCIS has begun identifying cases affected by this
policy modification in each field office and service
center. Each office
will evaluate the pending cases
and will adjust their workload accordingly. USCIS anticipates the majority
of the cases subject to this policy modification
will be processed by mid-March
2008. We recommend customers wait until March 10 before inquiring about
their cases. This will allow each office sufficient time
to identify and adjudicate
The memorandum identifies 1-485, 1-601, 1-687 and 1-698
forms. Is there a plan to include other forms,
nonimmigrant and naturalization,
in this policy?
Should customers contact USCIS through the 1-800
number or make an INFOPASS appointment to visit their
local office if their case
is outside of normal processing times and they
believe their application meets the criteria of
A11. For pending applications outside of
processing times, we recommend that customers wait until March 10,
2008, before inquiring about cases affected by
modification. This will allow
office sufficient time to identify and adjudicate the relevant pending
cases. If no action is taken by mid-March, we recommend
inquiring with the USCIS
customer service line at 1-800-375-5283. This procedure
is for customers who have been
previously informed that their case is pending due to the FBI name
check. (Cases that are still pending within the
processing times will be completed when the
related adjudication actions are completed.)
Will US CIS automatically notify an applicant to appear
at an Application
Support Center, (ASC) if his or her fingerprints have expired?
Applicants will be notified through an appointment
notice if new or updated fingerprint
checks are needed.