CSC Liaison Update : January 2009

California Service Center (CSC) views and clarifications on various immigration matters and procedures were provided to American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on January 28, 2009. This summary of the highlights of that report, including the 30-day timeline to respond to Requests for Evidence (RFEs), transfer of I-130s from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) to the CSC, and unusual RFEs on L-1 petitions are summarized here for our MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

Deadlines for Responses to RFEs

A question was asked with regard to the deadlines set for RFE responses. The regulations for RFE responses were altered in 2007 to allow for flexible deadlines. The USCIS published guidelines on this topic on June 1, 2007. More information can be found in our June 22, 2007 article, USCIS Clarification on Response Time for RFEs/NOIDs. The guidelines set a 30-day response time when initial evidence is missing and for I-539 change and/or extension-of-status requests. (Initial evidence for each type of case is established separately, by regulation.) However, there were reported concerns over RFEs that only allowed 30 days when the evidence requested did not fit within the “initial evidence” category. The CSC was asked how one should obtain the adequate response time in these situations.

The CSC responded that adjudicators are trained to follow the guidelines on RFEs set forth in the June 1, 2007 USCIS memorandum issued by Donald Neufeld. It was explained that it is standard practice, in keeping with the memorandum, to allow 42 days for a response not involving initial evidence. However, it was also stated – without elaboration – that there are instances when only 30 days might be permitted, even when requesting additional, rather than initial, evidence.

VSC Transfers to CSC : I-130s and I-539s

CSC confirmed that approximately 60,000 Immediate Relative (I-130) petitions were transferred from the VSC. Initial shipments took place at the end of 2008, with the final shipment of 20,000 petitions arriving at the end of January 2009. For the upcoming two months (February and March 2009), all new I-130 petitions will be directed from the USCIS lockbox to the CSC for adjudication. This initial two-month period may be extended.

RFEs on L Petitions

AILA reported strange RFEs on L petitions requesting evidence of how the U.S. entity functioned without the L beneficiary and how the foreign parent company would continue to function without this employee. The CSC confirmed that these requests are not relevant to the adjudication of an L petition and that adjudicators have been instructed to limit RFEs to subjects related to the adjudication of the petition.


We appreciate the information provided by the CSC. MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers will be updated on any important changes to policies and procedures at the USCIS service centers.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.