USCIS Reinstates Policy of Deference to Prior Determinations When Adjudicating Extension Requests

Last Updated on February 23, 2023


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual. 

According to the agency, this guidance instructs 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. 

What are the changes? 

Under this new guidance, 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 that involved the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application. USCIS had rescinded the 2004 guidance in 2017. 

This updated policy guidance is in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. The president signed this executive order in early February 2021. 

Looking Ahead 

When the deference policy was rescinded in 2017, employers were met with significant increases in rates of Requests for Evidence (RFE), denials, and government processing times, as officers were instructed to review all cases anew, even when they were extension requests involving the same parties and facts as previously approved cases. 

Global Immigration Associates (GIA) has indicated that with the 2004 guidance back in place, these obstacles will likely be reduced. Envoy and GIA will continue to provide information related to this update as it becomes available. 

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.  

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.