USCIS To Give Deference to Previous Decisions When Adjudicating Extension of Stay Requests

USCIS has issued a policy guidance instructing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change, or new material facts.

USCIS had issued a guidance in 2004 directing officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension petitions involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition. This 2004 guidance was rescinded by USCIS in 2017. With the new policy guidance, USCIS has reverted to the previous 2004 guidance on the issue of deference in prior determinations of eligibility.

The new policy guidance clarifies that USCIS gives deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change in circumstances or in eligibility, or new material information that adversely impacts the petitioner’s, applicant’s, or beneficiary’s eligibility. The policy guidance also affirms that USCIS will consider, but not defer to, previous eligibility determinations made by other U.S. government agencies.

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