USCIS to now give Deference to Prior Decisions in Adjudicating Extension Petitions
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 27 that it will reinstate an earlier 2004 policy that directs officers to give deference to prior decisions when adjudicating extension requests, involving the same parties and facts. The new guidance takes effect immediately.
Under the new guidance, officers are required to give deference to the USCIS’ prior decisions when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts, barring cases involving material changes or where new material information is available that adversely affects eligibility. The guidance will also not apply to situations involving a material error in the prior adjudication.
The new guidance rescinds the Trump administration’s 2017 policy memorandum that had reversed the long standing 2004 policy of giving deference to prior USCIS adjudication. As a result, there was an increase in Requests for Evidence (RFEs) even for petitions with prior approvals on the same facts.
As the new guidance is again requiring deference to prior decisions on extensions requests, this move should hopefully decrease the issuance of RFEs and generally reduce processing times. That said, how the USCIS officers implement this guidance will largely affect the adjudication trends.