USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Deference to Previous Decisions

April 27, 2021

On April 27, 2021, USCIS announced that it would reinstate its prior long-standing policy issued in 2004, directing officers to generally defer to previous decisions when adjudicating extension and renewal requests that involve “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The 2004 guidance was previously rescinded in 2017 under the Trump Administration.

This announcement is part of President Biden’s broader executive order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, which directs the Department of Homeland Security (under which USCIS operates) to identify and remove barriers that hamper access to fair and efficient adjudications of immigration benefits.



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