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FBI Name check memo - 180 days

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Domestic Operations ofDirectorate

Washington, DC 20529

u.s. Citizenship

and Immigration

Services

fEB 4- 2008

RQ 70/23 & 70/28.1

Interoffice Memorandum

TO:

FROM:

SUBJECT:

Background

Field Leadership ~..

.--,~ Michael Aytes "/ . .

Associate Director, Domestic Op rations

Revised National . Security Adjudication and Reporting Requirements

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts background checks on all

applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries seeking immigration benefits. This is done both to

enhance national security and to ensure the integrity ofthe immigration process. USCIS has

previously mandated that FBI name checks be completed and resolved before any positive

adjudication can proceed on certain form types. This memorandum modifies existing guidance

for applications where statutory immigration provisions allow for the detention and removal of

an alien who is the subject of actionable information that is received from the FBI or other law

enforcement agencies after approval of the application.

USCIS is issuing revised guidance in response to recommendations ofthe DRS Office of

Inspector General (OIG-06-06) regarding the need to align the agency's background and security

check policies with those of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The

Background and Security Investigations in Proceedings Before Immigration Judges and the

Board ofImmigration Appeals regulations prevent immigration judges and the Board of

Immigration Appeals (BIA) from granting benefits to aliens before DRS confirms that all

background and security checks have been completed. See 8 C.F.R. 1003.47(g); 8 C.F.R.

1003.l(d)(6)(i). In the context of removal proceedings, ICE has determined that FBI fingerprint

checks and Interagency Border Inspection Services (IBIS) checks are the required security

checks for purposes of the applicable regulations. In the unlikely event that FBI name checks

reveal actionable information after the immigration judge grants an alien permanent resident

status, DRS may detain and initiate removal proceedings against the permanent resident. See 8

U.S.c. 1227; see also 8 U.S.C. 1256 (allowing DRS to rescind an alien's adjustment of

status).

www.uscis.gov

Revised National Security Adjudication and Reporting Requirements

Page 2

Revised Guidance

A definitive FBI fingerprint check and the IBIS check must be obtained and resolved before an

Application for Adjustment of Status (1-485), Application for Waiver of Ground of

Inadmissibility (1-601), Application for Status as a Temporary Resident Under Section 245A of

the Immigration and Nationality Act (1-687), or Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to

Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of Public Law 99-603) (1-698) is approved. USCIS

will continue to initiate FBI name checks when those applications are received. Where the

application is otherwise approvable and the FBI name check request has been pending for more

than 180 days, the adjudicator shall approve the 1-485,1-601,1-687, or 1-698 and proceed with

card issuance. The FBI has committed to providing FBI name check results within this

timeframe.

There is no change in the requirement that FBI fingerprint check, IBIS check and FBI name

check results be obtained and resolved prior to the adjudication of an Application for

Naturalization (N-400).

Pending further guidance regarding post-audit reporting and tracking requirements and

modifications to associated quality assurance procedures, applications approved pursuant to this

memorandum shall be held at the adjudicating office. If derogatory or adverse information is

received from the FBI after the application is approved, USCIS will determine if rescission or

removal proceedings are appropriate and warranted.

Subject to the reporting requirements set forth in the February 16, 2007, memorandum titled

"FBI Name Checks Policy and Process Clarification for Domestic Operations," an application or

petition may be denied, dismissed, administratively closed, withdrawn, or referred to the

Immigration Court at any time.

Questions regarding this memorandum should be directed through appropriate supervisory and

operational channels. Local offices should work through their chain of command.

Distribution List:

Regional Directors

Service Center Directors

District Directors (except foreign)

Field Officer Directors (except foreign)

National Benefits Center Director