USCIS is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual instructing 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.
With this update, USCIS is reverting in substance to prior long-standing guidance issued in 2004, which directed officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition or application.
In 2017, USCIS rescinded the 2004 guidance. That rescission lead to a drastic increase in Requests for Evidence for extension filings, even though the agency had approved petitions in the past. Denials of extensions also occurred more frequently. Recognizing that the 2017 rescission created barriers that impeded access to immigration benefits and fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits, USCIS is reverting back to the 2004 guidance.