- USCIS has released updated policy guidance for reviewing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests
- USCIS is reverting to previous guidance originally issued in 2004
- The guidance initially released in 2004 was rescinded in 2017
- The updated guidance is consistent with President Biden’s executive order “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans”
- Reverting to the original guidance will potentially reduce RFEs and application processing delays
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual. The policy guidance instructs officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests that involve the same parties and facts as the initial application unless there are material errors, material changes, or new material facts.
What are the changes?
USCIS will revert to long-standing guidance originally issued in 2004 that directed officers to defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application. In 2017, USCIS rescinded the guidance that was issued in 2004.
The updated policy guidance is consistent with President Biden’s executive order titled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.” The president signed the executive order in early February 2021.
With the 2004 guidance back in place, obstacles faced by employers will likely be reduced. After the original guidance was rescinded, employers faced significant increases in rates of Requests for Evidence (RFE), denials, and government processing times since officers were instructed to review all cases, even when extension requests involved the same parties and facts as previously approved matters.
Additional updates to this change will be provided as available.