CIS Policy Change: Green Cards May Be Approved Despite Pending FBI Name Checks

February 7, 2008

Pending FBI name checks will no longer hold up CIS approval of green cards or several other immigration applications thanks to a new government policy issued this month.

Unfortunately, this policy will not help naturalization applications, which have also been a victim of these name check delays, often pending for 4 or more years. These delays prompted numerous mandamus lawsuits across the country to compel the FBI and USCIS to adjudicate the applications.

The new policy guidance says CIS can now approve a green card application (Form I-485) that has been pending fore more than 180 days awaiting FBI name check clearance, provided the application is otherwise approvable. Other clearances for fingerprints and IBIS (Interagency Border Inspection Services) checks must still be finished before CIS will adjudicate an application.

This new policy will help address lengthy delays in processing caused by the FBI’s failure to complete a name check in a timely manner.

This policy also applies to applications for wavier of ground of inadmissibility (Form I-601), applications for status as  temporary resident under Section 245A of the INA (Form I-687), and applications to adjust status form temporary to permanent resident under 245A (Form I-698).

If a name check reveals derogatory or adverse information, CIS will then determine if rescission or removal proceedings are warranted.