Previously, we have covered the RFE, the Request for more Evidence sent by the USCIS to an existing applicant. In such an instance, the USCIS is actively requesting that the applicant sends in supporting documents that they were originally supposed to attach to their application, but might have missed or were unaware they needed.

However, this notice is different from the NOID—the notice of intent to deny, which can also be issued to existing USCIS applicants. The NOID is a letter issued by USCIS when the officer determines that the applicant has not demonstrated eligibility for the requested immigration benefit. The letter lists reasons why USCIS intends to deny the case and provides a chance to overcome those concerns.

The main difference from the officers perspective is that the NOID could very well be issued to an applicant who has filed all of their paperwork correctly, but for some other reason the officer believes that the case should not be approved. In most RFE cases, the applicant has incorrectly filed, but still has a legitimate marriage, for example.

When is a NOID Likely to Happen?

While RFEs are a common procedure, and the applicant usually has between up to 90 days to respond with the appropriate documentation, NOIDs are more serious. This is because the USCIS usually denies cases outright and won't bother to send one. However, when they do, an applicant has only 30 days to respond accordingly with more evidence.

In any case, marriage green card applicants are the most likely parties to be issued NOIDs to date. The USCIS is intent on discovering marriage fraud, and officers will go to lengths to make sure that an existing I-130 petition is legitimate before couples are allowed to file an I-485 application. Sometimes, if couples have to attend Stokes interviews (where both spouses attend separate USCIS interviews in an attempt to see if both spouses have consistent answers to the same questions), the USCIS will issue a NOID if they are hearing inconsistent answers.

Additionally, with the advent of the Internet, officers today often use more than just one's application package to verify a legitimate marriage. It is common today for USCIS officers to take to Google, Facebook, or other social media platforms to make sure the couple that says they are in a bona fide marriage has pictures and other milestones to back up this claim. Officers can issue NOIDs if someone’s Facebook page shows that they are clearly leading a double life or appear to have a completely different identity online.

Ways to Overcome the NOID

Whatever the case may be, receiving an NOID can be stressful for green card applicants because on top of your working life and other daily responsibilities, you now have to set aside time, and quickly, to submit a rebuttal to the USCIS within 30 days. Some appropriate methods that have been used in the past contest NOIDs include the following:

1.     Have an employer, religious leader, or authority figure in your community prepare a legitimate affidavit attesting your marital relationship to your partner.

2.     Prepare a written rebuttal to the USCIS if you think they have incorrectly sent you a NOID. For example, previous applicants have noted a language barrier that may have created problems during a USCIS interview, or that led to a false interpretation by the officer.

3.     If an officer visited your home and issued a NOID because they found evidence that led them to believe both partners were not living together, provide a reasonable explanation for how you sharing your living space, and that you keep some of your belongings in storage space, or keep storage in separate parts of the house.

4.     If an officer finds that your social media accounts do not match up with the evidence you have provided in your application, you will need to mount a more vigorous defense and state either that your accounts are outdated and that your current marital lifestyle and social media presence act completely independent of one another.  

Once you submit a response…

Once you have replied back to the USCIS with your written rebuttal or supplementary documents you think will change your case decision, it could take several months before the USCIS issues a final decision. 

In order to see what is happening with your case during this time, you might check the USCIS Contact Center:

If the USCIS rejects your application altogether, you can file an appeal, but for most applicants it will simply be easier to reapply.