NOIR: Notice of Intent to Revoke US Visa Petition
The Notice Of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) is used by USCIS to inform a US visa applicant or holder of the intention to revoke a petition that has been previously approved.
They can be issued for any type of visa, both immigrant and nonimmigrant and family-based or employment-based, at any time after approval for a petition has been granted.
For applicants, receiving a NOIR can be distressing. Not only does it give a worrying indication of USCIS’ assessment of your case, but it is also usually followed by a long wait to hear the final decision from USCIS. NOIRs differ from NOIDs and RFEs as they are issued following an initial positive decision in favour of the petitioner.
In the case of a visa application made from overseas, it is likely that information has been uncovered following the applicant’s visa interview at the consular post. In these circumstances, the consulate will inform USCIS of the new information, returning the full application and investigation documentation to USCIS, who will then issue the formal notice to the US-based sponsor of the visa applicant (‘beneficiary’).
Note also that a NOIR does not refer to inadmissibility; this is dealt with through a waiver application.
Under the Trump Administration, NOIRs are being issued in increasing numbers in relation to H-1B and L-1 visa holders following DHS worksite visits. Site inspections are used to check employees’ immigration status and that all compliance conditions are being adhered to and the employer’s duties are being met. Issues identified during visits can then give rise to revocation of visas on either a mandatory or non-mandatory basis. Reasons could include for example gross error on the part of DHS for a previous visa, if the information provided in the petition are false (fraudulent or otherwise), or if there has been a change in eligibility such as employment.
NOIRs can also be issued if the Department of Labor is intending to revoke a labor condition application.
How to respond to a NOIR
The NOIR will contain a lot of detail that you will need to look at closely to decide your next steps.
First, check the notice document relates to the correct visa applicant. You should then check the deadline to respond. You will generally be given 30 days to respond before your application is revoked. This isn’t a lot of time to compile your response and any supporting evidence. As such, it will be critical to act fast. Taking early professional advice can help ensure you understand all options.
The notice will also contain the relevant grounds for the decision. These should fall under Section 205 of the Immigration and Nationality Act: misrepresentation? ineligibility of the sponsor or the employee? discovery of derogatory information? mistake or misinterpretation of the adjudicator?
Look at the specific issues alleged. The response will need to address each individual ground. Failing to respond to any of the issues listed will result in revocation, so it will be critical that as much information, documentation and affidavits are gathered and submitted on time to counter the allegations contained in the NOIR.
For example, if the petition is for a family-based visa and the NOIR questions the authenticity of the relationship, further evidence will be needed. This should be more than and in addition to what has already been provided.
If there are any factual errors in the reasons for revocation, an amended petition may need to be filed.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be advisable to submit a brand new petition altogether and focus on addressing the challenges of the previous application. This will require processing fees to be paid again, and applicants should prepare for additional scrutiny following previous application difficulties.
Given what is at stake and that each case will turn on its own facts, it is advised to take professional guidance on your options to ensure you are able to respond effectively within the timeframe.
What happens after submitting your response?
Under US immigration rules, there are no guidelines for processing times of NOIR responses, so petitioners are generally in for a lengthy wait to receive a response.
Once the response has been received, USCIS will conduct further investigation in light of the new information provided in order to reach a final decision. It can take up to a year to receive a final decision.
If the decision is in the applicant’s favour, USCIS will send the petition back to the relevant consulate. The applicant will need to go through consular processing again, but with the assurance that USCIS will not revoke the petition on the same grounds for a second time.
What happens if the response is negative?
If the rebuttal is rejected, the applicant will have only 15 days to appeal.
A revoked visa has the effect of changing the holder’s immigration status in the US. They no longer benefit from the permissions granted under the visa, such as work authorization. They will have to cease working with immediate effect and will have to leave the US unless they can secure alternative status to remain lawfully.
In all future US visa applications, they will have to disclose details of the revocation.
It can also have wider-reaching effects on the visa holder’s US employer, who may come under the scrutiny of US immigration officials as to their other non-US workers and immigration applications.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.