The Trump administration has empowered officials to outright reject visa applications under certain circumstances. This step can be taken if the required ‘initial evidence’ wasn’t submitted or it failed to establish eligibility for the visa sought.
The revised policy will apply to all applications and requests received by the authorities from September 11 onwards.
In other words, the visa applicants, that include companies sponsoring H-1B employees, are less likely to get a second chance to submit more documentary evidence or provide explanations that would substantiate eligibility for the visa.
In some cases, outright denial of the application, say for the extension of an H-1B visa, could even place the employee at the risk of deportation.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued this revised policy on July 13.
“It has rescinded an earlier policy that restricted official’s ability to deny a case without first giving the applicant an opportunity to provide more evidence to prove the case. While the revised policy instructs officials to deny the application, without a Request for Evidence (RFE), only if the case lacks sufficient ‘initial evidence’, it is not yet clear how this term will be interpreted,” states Fragomen, a global firm specialising in immigration laws.
Under the earlier policy, US officials processing visa applications were required to issue RFEs in all cases, unless there was no possibility that the additional document or information could rectify the issue.
USCIS attributes the revision as a measure to curb frivolous filings. Immigration experts believe that the revised policy gives subjective powers to officials and could make the process cumbersome.