The new administration has instructed officers to once again defer to prior decisions when reviewing petitions for extensions of status. If an application involves the same parties and facts, the officer should defer to the prior decision. Alternatively, if there was a material error or there are material changes, then the officer should conduct a more thorough review.
With this update, USCIS restores its prior guidance issued in 2004. In 2017, USCIS changed the 2004 guidance. This resulted in complicating an otherwise straightforward renewal process. It added unnecessary stress and delay to the renewal process for employees who were already lawfully working in the United States. The decision to again defer to prior approvals promotes efficient and fair adjudication of immigration benefits. We always aim to make the process smooth for our clients. We hope this new policy will provide some added predictability and ease to the renewal process.