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The USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual

(How the rules are supposed to be applied in your immigration case.)

Let’s begin this article with some definitions:

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

Adjudicator – One who hears or settles a case by judicial procedure.

So we are talking about the person who holds a lot of power over your immigration matter. The USCIS won’t tell the public all of the rules, but this redacted version of the Field Manual, as they call it, or instruction manual, as we might call it, gives us a lot insight.

What we have provided at the bottom of this article is a link to the online version of the field manual. We are doing it this way because the manual is updated with some regularity, and we want the most current version to be available if you wish to read rules that apply to your case.

One important thing to keep in mind is that there are many adjudicators who work for the USCIS. Adjudicators are human beings. Each person is limited not only by his or her unique ability to read and understand instructions, and by errors that they might make in interpreting and applying the rules, but also by their emotions.

Have you ever noticed a difference between decisions made by a policeman who was in a good mood and one who was angry or apparently having a bad day when you were stopped for speeding? The policeman has some discretion in how to apply the law; adjudicators sometimes have the same kind of discretion.

Many times it is the petitioner or applicant for an immigration benefit who makes an error that causes a delay or a denial in a case. Without question, however, an adjudicator is also capable of making an error when handling a case. If this happens to you, it will do no good to get angry about it. Cases are usually won when common sense and good judgment are used in conjunction with a sound strategy for challenging and overcoming the error.

We are usually contacted by someone who wants to file an appeal when they believe an error has been made in their case. Sometimes an appeal is appropriate, but sometimes an appeal is not a good strategy. As illogical as it sounds, sometimes the fastest and surest way to overcome an error is to forget about an appeal and start the process anew.

An experienced immigration attorney can help you develop a strategy for dealing with those bumps in the road that your case has hit, but any chance of developing a winning strategy requires that the attorney be able to see your documentation and understand exactly what happened in your case, so be prepared to send the full package to the attorney.

In the meantime, you can follow this link to the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual:



Copyright 2014 By Lee Solomon

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