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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawIs a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) CR-1 Visa a Good Idea?

Is a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) CR-1 Visa a Good Idea?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing do-it-yourself visas; specifically the CR-1 Visa. 

I want to preface this video by saying I don't really have a “dog in the fight” with respect to do-it-yourselfers at all. Its folks’ right to petition for immigration benefits pro se, under most circumstances, especially in the context of a CR-1 for a foreign spouse. That is not really what this video is about, with respect to the notion of whether doing it yourself is a good idea. It's more about “is do-it-yourself a good idea especially in light of a recent USCIS policy memo which is fundamentally changing the way in which immigrant spouse visa petitions are going to be adjudicated?” Now what I'm talking about is a policy memo which was promulgated this past summer, in 2018, coming into effect September 11, 2018, which dictates that the so-called "no possibility" doctrine will be sort of rescinded as part of the adjudicatory process from USCIS which will essentially open up adjudicators to be able to essentially deny petitions out of hand where the petition does not at least meet the prima facie eligibility requirements.

What am I talking about here? Well in the past, prior to this new memo coming into play, it was basically a filed petition for spousal immigration benefits. If someone filed for such benefits and there was evidentiary deficiency, the adjudicating officer could only deny the case out of hand if there was and I quote "no possibility" that the couple could get the visa; that it could be remedied. So basically we are talking about cases that are on their face not eligible. For example filing for an IR-1 Visa and not being married; or filing for a CR1 Visa and not being married or filing for spousal visa benefits where the petitioner and the beneficiary are not actually legally spouses. That is a good example of an eligibility issue that could be present on its face and the individuals could be denied. Now even in that situation it is kind of a “proving a negative” sort of thing, so even in those situations where it is not clear to the officer that the couple was married they would probably still get issued a Request for Evidence due to this no possibility doctrine because it's still possible they simply forgot to add the marriage certificate to their filing. So again this new possibility doctrine really required effectively as a practical matter adjudicating USCIS officers to basically issue an RFE, Request for Evidence, unless it was just utterly clear that the couple was not eligible.

So the thing to take away from this video is "this has changed".  Now it is possible this “no possibility” doctrine has been rescinded. Now it is possible if the four corners of that filing do not basically firm up eligibility, do not prove eligibility for the benefit being requested, it is possible for an officer at USCIS to just deny that case out of hand. That that can result in a lot of lost time, a lot of lost resources, a lot of lost money in terms of filing fees with respect to that given petition. So again the thing to take away from this video is, scrutiny is going to be necessary, heightened scrutiny for do-it-yourselfers, and it is probably not a bad idea to at least contact a legal professional and get some insight into how this stuff is going to really operate. Maybe not necessarily have them assist with the case itself but at least get a better handle on it because what I do worry about for do-it-yourselfers moving forward is that they're going to start filing stuff and paying filing fees only to have their filings kicked back with a denial due to this recent change in policy from USCIS.