USCIS – NO Deference to Prior Adjudications in the Nonimmigrant Petition Context

USCIS issued a policy memorandum entitled “The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity.” The memorandum and policy provided therein is effective immediately. The new guidance clearly states that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner even in cases where an extension of status is pursued. Adjudicators may no longer defer to prior USCIS decisions (approvals) and must apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary, and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition.