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Immigration Law - Houston

NOID USCIS: What to do if you Receive a Notice of Intent to Deny


Have you received a Notice of Intent to Deny in an immigration case and need help figuring out what to do next? Think for a moment about your taxes. How do you feel when you file income tax returns? Do you get excited about the refund you’re expecting?

You might even start planning what you’ll do with that money – It’s exciting to think you might be able to pay off a bill, put a down payment on a car, or go on a vacation. This is a time when you anticipate good news. You would be very surprised if you file your tax return and get a notice from the IRS telling you that you appear to owe them money. It would be even more of a jolt if the notice gave you 30 days to respond and contest it or pay up!

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When you read this notice, you’ll probably feel anxious and start worrying. What if you don’t have the money you supposedly owe? Are you sure that their conclusion is right? What if you truly believe your tax return was correctly prepared? (There’s a reason “a NOID” sounds just like “annoyed”!)

What is a USCIS Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)?

When you have received a NOID, you have received the immigration equivalent of that tax notice. Like your tax return, your immigration application is sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When it arrives and is accepted, it is routed to an officer who will review your application and documents to decide if you qualify to get the benefit you have applied for. (You might be applying for a green card, a work permit, or to change your status from one category to another.)

It is the immigration officer’s job to know the qualifications for the application you submitted. The officer must review the application and documents you submitted to see if you have showed that you are eligible for the benefit (such as being classified as a spouse of a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident or applying for a green card). 

Why Would You Receive a NOID?

You can receive a NOID for one of several reasons. For example, you may not have fulfilled the requirements of your status before filing for additional benefits. You could also receive a NOID if USCIS checks your background information and finds negative information (such as a criminal history, a national security issue, or information that you may not have been aware of when you filed the application). Another reason you have been issued a NOID is that the officer reviewing your case believes that you provided minimal evidence with your application. Finally, you could be issued a NOID because you are applying for something that is in a USCIS officer’s discretion to grant, and you have not shown that the officer should use his discretion favorably and approve your application.

Examples of NOIDs:

  • A U.S. citizen husband filed a petition for his non-citizen wife, and they attended an interview at USCIS. Afterward, they received a NOID noting that they appeared unprepared for their interview and had very little documentation with them.
  • A person applied to be classified as an employee with an advanced degree with special qualifications for his job. USCIS issued a NOID stating that he had failed to show that he qualified for this employment-based classification.
  • A person applies for a U visa as a victim of a crime. USCIS issues a NOID saying that the person was actually a participant in the crime and may not deserve the chance to stay in the United States as a result.
  • A person files for a green card but has a criminal conviction. USCIS issues a NOID saying that the person has applied for residence but appears to need a discretionary waiver for the criminal offense and now must show she qualifies for this waiver.
  • A person gets protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Then the person is arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He pleads guilty and serves his sentence. The person files to renew his protection under DACA. USCIS issues a NOID stating that he no longer qualifies for DACA because he has a DUI offense.

These are examples of NOIDs that may be issued – USCIS can issue one for a number of reasons, or can issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) instead. Read more about RFEs here.

What to do if you receive a USCIS NOID:

If you have received a Notice of Intent to Deny, you will be given 30 days to respond. If you do not respond to a NOID, you most likely will receive a decision denying your application. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced, specialized immigration attorney to determine how to respond to the NOID and prepare your response quickly. You might wonder if it’s worth the time and expense to try to respond to a NOID, but think back to the tax return example: if your return is correct, you stand to get your tax refund – money that you can use to do something you need or want to do. This process is similar – you have already applied with USCIS for something you want. Not responding means you are almost guaranteed to get a denial. If you invest the time and effort to respond, and you may get what you want – a work permit, authorization to stay in the U.S., a green card or another benefit. 

If you or someone you know receives a NOID, don’t assume the case will be denied. A Notice of Intent to Deny can be successfully rebutted, especially if you have an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you respond to the NOID.

Have questions?  The Law Office of Kathryn N. Karam, P.C. is here to help. Click here:

Schedule a consultation with Karam Immigration Law

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