USCIS reverses Trump policy – Reinstates Deference to Prior Nonimmigrant Petition Adjudications

USCIS has reinstated its guidance to immigration officers to defer to prior nonimmigrant petition approvals when adjudicating petition extension requests, if the facts and parties remain the same. The agency announced today that it has rescinded its 2017 policy memorandum, issued under the Trump Administration.

USCIS is returning to policy giving deference to prior adjudications. This means officers may not defer to a prior approval where there are material changes or where new material information is available that undermines eligibility, which includes publicly available information affecting eligibility for the benefit. The policy reversal could reduce the number of petition based RFEs and decrease processing times of extension requests.

The reinstated deference policy is effective immediately. The policy will also not apply if there was material error in the prior adjudication. 

After the 2017 Trump-era policy memo, requests for evidence (RFE) increased significantly, even on petitions with multiple prior approvals on the same facts. Reverting back to the prior policy should decrease the number of extension RFEs and reduce their processing times.

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DHS Postpones REAL ID Deadline to May 2023

The Department of Homeland Security has extended the full enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023, from October 1, 2021, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on states’ ability to issue REAL-ID compliant documents.
Airlines and federal agencies will continue to accept non-REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for domestic air travel and admission to federal facilities until May 3, 2023.
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