Adjudicator’s Field Manual – Redacted Public Version

Updated through May 10, 2011, the online public version of the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) comprehensively details USCIS policies and procedures for adjudicating applications and petitions. USCIS updates the AFM regularly to incorporate new policies and procedures established through statutes, regulations, policy memoranda, or any other pertinent publications.

As permitted under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), United States Code, Title 5, Section 552, the AFM on the USCIS public web site is a redacted version of the complete manual. All redactions were made under both of the following exemptions:

  • 5 USC 552(b)(2) to prevent the disclosure of records that are related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency; and
  • 5 USC 552(b)(7)(E) to prevent the disclosure of techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure that could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.

The abbreviations “(b)(2)” and “(b)(7)(E)” in the manual indicate where data has been redacted.

Adjudicator’s Field Manual: Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Organization and Content of the Adjudicator’s Field Manual.
1.1 Purpose, Content and Organization of the Manual .
Chapter 2 Customer Service.
2.1 Defining Customer Service for Adjudications
2.2 The Role of the Adjudicator in Customer Service: The Moment of Truth
2.3 Our Customers
2.4 Excellent Service in a Culturally Diverse Environment
2.5 Courtesy
2.6 Professional Service
2.7 Knowledgeable Service
2.8 Providing Courteous, Professional and Knowledgeable Service to Applicants with Disabilities
2.9 Recommended Techniques for Responding to Applicants Who Are Upset
2.10 Further Reading on Customer Service
Chapter 3 Mission and Functions of Adjudications.
3.1 Terminology
3.2 Mission Statement
3.3 The Chain of Command
3.4 Adherence to USCIS Policy
3.5 Roles of Headquarters, Regions and Field Organizations
3.6 Roles and Functions of Related USCIS and DHS Branches
3.7 Adjudications Working Groups
3.8 Reporting Incidents
3.9 Hostage Situations
Chapter 4 Career Information.
4.1 Position Descriptions for Selected Jobs
4.2 Training and Professional Development
4.3 The Workplace Environment
4.4 Uniforms, Badges and Credentials
4.5 Immigration Information Officer Uniform Standards
4.6 Fraud Detection and National Security Position Descriptions (FDNS)
I. General Policies and Procedures
Chapter 10 An Overview of the Adjudication Process.
10.1 Receipting and Acceptance Processing
10.2 Record of Proceeding
10.3 General Adjudication Procedures
10.4 Transferring Jurisdiction within USCIS
10.5 Requesting Additional Information
10.6 Post-Decision Case Actions
10.7 Preparing Denial Orders
10.8 Preparing the Appellate Case Record
10.9 Waiver of Fees
10.10 Refund of Fees
10.11 Order of Processing
10.12 Adjudicator’s Responsibilities under FOIA/Privacy Act
10.13 Public Copies of Decisions
10.14 Directed Decisions
10.15 Exercise of Discretion; Uniformity of Decisions
10.16 Denial for Lack of Prosecution
10.17 Preparing Denial Orders
10.18 Certification of Decisions
10.19 Use of Classified Information in Adjudications Decisions [reserved]
10.20 Adjudications Approval Stamps, Facsimile Stamps and Dry Seals [reserved].
Chapter 11 Evidence.
11.1 Submission of Supporting Documents and Consideration of Evidence
11.2 Video and Audio Taping
11.3 Foreign Language Documents and Translations
11.4 Administration of Oaths
11.5 Outside Sources and Other USCIS Records
Chapter 12 Attorneys and Other Representatives.
12.1 [Reserved]
12.2 [Reserved]
12.3 [Reserved]
12.4 [Reserved]
12.5 [Reserved]
12.6 Role of USCIS District Directors in the Board of Immigration Appeals Recognition and Accreditation Process
Chapter 13 [Reserved]
Chapter 14 Sources of Information / Conducting Research.
14.1 The Importance of Research
14.2 Basic Principles of Effective Legal Research
14.3 Primary Research Sources
14.4 Decisions of Administrative Appellate Bodies
14.5 Decisions of Federal Courts
14.6 Other USCIS and Governmental Resources
14.7 Supplemental Materials and Non-Governmental Resources
14.8 USCIS and DHS Databases
14.9 Internet and Intranet Resources
14.10 Procedures for Requesting Library of Congress Research
Chapter 15 Interview Techniques.
15.1 General Policies
15.2 Interview Environment
15.3 Officer Conduct and Appearance
15.4 Interview Procedures
15.5 New York City District Office (“Stokes”) Interviews
15.6 Sworn Statements
15.7 Use of Interpreters
15.8 Role of Attorney or Representative in the Interview Process
15.9 Videotaping Interviews
15.10 NSEERS Interviews
Chapter 16 Fingerprinting and Other Agency Background Checks.
16.1 Taking of Fingerprints by Application Support Centers (ASCs) and DLEAs.
16.2 Procedures for Forwarding Background Checks to Agencies, Both Routine and Expedited.
16.3 USCIS Action on Agency Responses and the Process by Which Local, Regional and National Offices Monitor Compliance.
16.4 Post-audit Procedures.
Chapter 17 Field Immigration Examinations (FIE) Program [(b)(2) or (b)(7)(E)]
17.1 Purpose and Vision of the FIE Program.
17.2 Background.
17.3 Authority.
17.4 Training
17.5 Case Assignment
17.6 Officer Safety
17.7 Duty Schedules and Overtime Compensation
17.8 Equipment
17.9 Surveillance
17.10 Confidential Informants
17.11 Reporting Requirements
II. Immigrants and Other Permanent or Semi-Permanent Classifications.
Chapter 20 Immigrants in General.
20.1 Numerical Limitations and the Visa Bulletin
20.2 Petition Validity
20.3 Petition Revocation
20.4 Petition Withdrawal
20.5 Enforceable Affidavits of Support
Chapter 21 Family-based Petitions and Applications.
21.1 General Information About Relative Visa Petitions
21.2 Factors Common to the Adjudication of All Relative Petitions
21.3 Petition for a Spouse
21.4 Petition for a Child, Son, or Daughter
21.5 Petition for an Orphan
21.6 Petition for a Hague Convention Adoption [Reseved]
21.7 Petition for an Amerasian
21.8 Petition for a Parent
21.9 Petition for a Sibling
21.10 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
21.11 Petition for Spouse, Child, or Parent of Certain Deceased U.S. Armed Forces Members
21.12 [Reserved]
21.13 [Reserved]
21.14 Self Petitions by Abused Spouses, Children, and Parents
Chapter 22 Employment-Based Petitions, Entrepreneurs and Special Immigrants.
22.1 Prior Law and Historical Background
22.2 Employment-based Petitions (Forms I-140)
22.3 Special Immigrant Cases
22.4 Employment Creation Entrepreneur Cases
Chapter 23 Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident.
23.1 Prior Law and Historical Background.
23.2 General Adjustment of Status Issues
23.3 [Reserved]
23.4 Presumption of Lawful Admission and Creation of Record under 8 CFR 101
23.5 Adjustment of Status under Section 245 of the Act
23.6 Refugee and Asylee Adjustment under Section 209 of the Act
23.7 Registration of Lawful Permanent Residence under Section 249 of the Act
23.8 Section 289 Cases
23.9 Section 7 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 Cases
23.10 Adjustment of Status under Section 13 of the Act of September 11, 1957 (8 U.S.C. 1255b)
23.11 Cuban Adjustment Act Cases
23.12 Adjustment of Status under NACARA (sec. 202 of Pub L 105-100)
23.13 Adjustment of Status under HRIFA (sec. 902 of Pub L 105-277)
23.14 Adjustment of Status for Certain Syrian Nationals Granted Asylum
Chapter 24 Legalization.
24.1 Historical Background
24.2 Legalization under Section 245a of the Act
24.3 Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) and Replacement Agricultural Worker (RAW) Programs
24.4 Family Unity Program
24.5 Legalization Provisions of the LIFE Act.
24.6 LIFE Act Family Unity Provisions
Chapter 25 Petitions for Removal of Conditions on Conditional Residence.
25.1 Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 (Form I-751)
25.2 Entrepreneurs (Form I-829)
Chapter 26 Rescission of Adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident Status.
26.1 Adjudication Issues.
26.2 Adjudication Procedures.
III. Nonimmigrants and Other Temporary Status Aliens
Chapter 30 Nonimmigrants in General.
30.1 Maintaining Status
30.2 Extension of Stay for Nonimmigrants
30.3 Change of Nonimmigrant Status Under Section 248 INA
30.4 Replacement of Arrival-Departure Records
30.5 Status as a Foreign Government Official or Employee of an International Organization
30.6 Extensions of Stay for Certain A and G Nonimmigrants
30.7 Unauthorized Employment and Other Incidents Involving A or G Nonimmigrants
30.8 Affidavits of Support for Nonimmigrants
30.9 Geographically Restricted Nonimmigrants
30.10 Termination of Approval (Revocation of Approval of Petition)
30.11 Adjustment of Status to Nonimmigrant
30.12 Nonimmigrant Health Care Workers
Chapter 31 Petitions for Temporary Workers (H Classifications).
31.1 Background
31.2 General Requirements for H Petitions
31.3 H1-B Classification and Documentary Requirements
31.4 Agricultural Workers (H-2A)
31.5 Temporary Service or Labor Workers (H-2B)
31.6 Trainees (H-3)
31.7 Nurses (H-1C)
31.8 Strikes and Lockouts Involving H Petition Beneficiaries
31.9 Dependents
Chapter 32 Petitions for Intracompany Transferees (L Classification).
32.1 Background
32.2 Terminology
32.3 Individual L Petition Process
32.4 Blanket Petition Process
32.5 Individual Eligibility under Blanket Petitions
32.6 Technical Issues
Chapter 33 Petitions for Artists, Entertainers, Athletes and Others of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O & P Classifications).
33.1 Background
33.2 Terminology
33.3 Consultation Requirements and Procedures
33.4 Aliens with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics, and Accompanying Aliens (O-1 and O-2)
33.5 Internationally Recognized Athletes and Entertainers (P-1)
33.6 Reciprocal Exchange Artists and Entertainers (P-2)
33.7 Culturally Unique Artists and Entertainers (P-3)
33.8 Expedite Procedures
33.9 Technical Issues
33.10 Special Agreements
Chapter 34 Other Employment Authorized Nonimmigrants (E, I & R Classifications).
34.1 Background
34.2 Treaty Traders
34.3 Treaty Investors
34.4 Information Media Representatives
34.5 Nonimmigrant Aliens Employed in Religious Occupations (Revised 1/15/2009; AD08-09)
34.6 E-3 Specialty Occupation Workers
Chapter 35 Students and Exchange Visitors (F, J, M & Q); School Approvals.[Reserved. Undergoing major revision]
Chapter 36 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
36.1 Reserved
36.2 Parole and Other Benefits for Certain Aliens in the CNMI [Chapter 36.2 added 11-24-2009]
36.3 Adjudication of Adjustment of Status Applications from Aliens Present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) after November 28, 2009. [Chapter 36.3 added 12-15-2010; PM-602-0013, AD10-19]
36.4 Waivers of Inadmissibility and Grants of Status for Certain Aliens Seeking Nonimmigrant Status in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) [Chapter 36.3 added 12/14/2010; PM-602-0012, AD11-12]
36.5 Reserved
36.6 Reserved
36.7 Reserved
36.8 Classification of Aliens under Section 101(a)(15)(L) and 203(b)(1)(C)
Chapter 37 Nonimmigrants Intending to Adjust Status (K and V Classifications).
37.1 Reserved (undergoing revision as 05-10-2006)
37.2 Reserved (undergoing revision as 05-10-2006)
37.3 Reserved (undergoing revision as 05-10-2006)
37.4 Provisions for the V Nonimmigrant Classification
Chapter 38 Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure.
38.1 Temporary Protected Status
38.2 Deferred Enforced Departure
Chapter 39 Victims of Trafficking in Persons and other Crimes
39.1 U Immigrants [Chapter added AD08-12; 03-07-2008]
39.2 T Immigrants
Chapter 40 Grounds of Inadmissibility under Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act
40.1 Health Related Grounds of Inadmissibility and Medical Examination [Chapter added 03-19-2009]
40.2 Section 212(a)(2) of the Act – Criminal and Related Grounds [Reserved]
40.3 Section 212(a)(3) of the Act – Security and Related Grounds [Reserved]
40.4 Section 212(a)(4) of the Act – Public Charge [Reserved]
40.5 Section 212(a)(5) of the Act – Labor Certification and Qualifications for Certain Immigrants [Reserved]
40.6 Section 212(a)(6) of the Act – Illegal Entrants and Immigration Violators [Chapter Added 03-03-2009]
40.7 Section 212(a)(7) of the Act – Documentation Requirements [Reserved]
40.8 Section 212(a)(8) of the Act – Ineligible for Citizenship [Reserved]
40.9 Section 212(a)(9) of the Act – Aliens Unlawfully Present after Previous Immigration Violations [Chapter 40.9 Added 05-06-2009]
40.9.1 Inadmissibility Based on Prior Removal (Section 212(a)(9)(A) of the Act) or Based on Unlawful Return after Prior Removal (Section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II) of the Act) [Reserved]
40.9.2 Inadmissibility Based on Prior Unlawful Presence (Sections 212(a)(9)(B) and (C)(i)(I) of the Act)
40.10 Section 212(a)(10) of the Act – Miscellaneous [Reserved]
Chapter 41 Waiver of Excludability for Immigrants.
41.3 Waiver of Medical Grounds of Inadmissibility.
41.6 Waivers of Inadmissibility for Refugees and Asylees.
41.7 Expeditious Adjudication of Waivers of Inadmissibility [Chapter 41.7 Added 5/9/2011]
Chapter 42. Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
Chapter 43 Consent to Reapply After Deportation or Removal.
43.1 General.
43.2 Adjudication Process.
Chapter 44 [Reserved]
Chapter 45 Waiver of Section 212(e) Foreign Residence Requirement.
45.1 Background
45.2 General Considerations
45.3 Waiver Based on Exceptional Hardship to USC or LPR Spouse or Child.
45.4 Waiver Based on a Claim of Persecution
45.5 Waiver Based on a “No Objection” Letter
45.6 Waiver Based on a Request by a U.S. Government Agency, Not Involving a Foreign Medical Graduate
45.7 Waiver Based on Employment with a Designated Health Facility or Health Care Organization, or Federal Agency Involved in Medical Research or Training under Section 214(l) of the Act.
V. Travel and Identity Documents
Chapter 51 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
51.1 Historical Information.
51.2 Adjudication and Production Processes and Issues.
51.3 Form I-551 Renewal Policy and Procedure.
51.4 Naming Conventions; Use of Full Legal Name on All USCIS Issued Documents.
Chapter 52 Reentry Permits.
52.1 General
52.2 Filing and Receipting Procedures.
52.3 Adjudication
52.4 Production and Delivery.
Chapter 53 Refugee Travel Documents.
53.1 Background
53.2 Filing and Receipting Procedures
53.3 Adjudication
53.4 Production and Delivery
53.5 Special Considerations
Chapter 54 Advance Parole Documents and Boarding Letters.
54.1 Background.
54.2 Filing and Receipting Procedures.
54.3 Adjudication
54.4 Special Considerations
Chapter 55 Employment Authorization Documents.[Reserved. Undergoing major revision]
Chapter 56 Other USCIS and DHS Documents.
56.1 Replacement of Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record.
56.2 USC ID Cards.
56.3 Kickapoo Cards.
56.4 North American Indians Born in Canada.
VI. Bonds and Fines
Chapter 61 Bonds.
61.1 Posting, Cancellation and Breaching of Public Charge Bonds.
61.2 Posting, Cancellation and Breaching of Maintenance of Status Bonds.
Chapter 62 Fines and Liquidated Damages
VII. Nationality and Naturalization
Chapter 71 Citizenship.
71.1 Acquisition and Derivation
Chapter 72 Processes/Procedures for Conducting Naturalization Interviews.
72.1 Overview of the Examination Process
72.2 Examination Preparation
72.3 Decision Process
Chapter 73 The Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization.
73.1 Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence
73.2 [Reserved]
73.3 Continuity of Residence
73.4 Jurisdiction
73.5 Physical Presence
73.6 Good Moral Character
73.7 Attachment to the Constitution
73.8 English and Civics
Chapter 74 Examination of Form N-400.
74.1 General Information and Introduction to Form N-400
74.2 Part-by-Part Discussion of Form N-400 Data
74.3 Closing Actions
Chapter 75 The Oath of Naturalization.
75.1 The Oath
75.2 The Oath Ceremony
75.3 Ceremony-Related Issues
Chapter 76 Denaturalization.
76.1 General
76.2 Adjudicator Actions
VIII. Managing the Adjudications Program
Chapter 81 Statistical Reports; Adjudications Recordkeeping.
81.1 Work Measurement Procedures.
81.2 Using Statistical Information.
Chapter 82 Management Techniques .
Chapter 83 Liaison
83.1 Liaison with Other Government Agencies and Other Entities.
83.2 [Reserved]
83.3 [Reserved]
83.4 Designation and Revocation of Civil Surgeons.
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