On April 27, 2021, the Biden administration reinstated the “Deference Policy,” in which USCIS officers have to give deference to prior employment visa determinations when adjudicating visa extension requests involving the same parties and facts.
The Deference Policy was revoked during the first year of the Trump Administration. Since its revocation, USCIS officers treated every application, or petition, of visa extension as if there had never been a previous approval of the same visa benefit for the same employer, employee and job. Due to this, visa extension petitions were subject to more scrutiny, and burdensome requests for evidence (RFEs), resulting in processing backlogs and delays of otherwise previously adjudicated matters.
Under the reinstated policy, USCIS can only oppose a previous approval if it finds that the original approval was materially wrong based on the visa’s legal requisites or a material change in facts since the original approval. In order NOT to defer a previous approval an Officer must:
- Acknowledge the previous approval in the denial, RFE, or NOID
- Articulate the reason for the lack of deference
- Provide the petitioner or applicant an opportunity to respond to any new information
- Obtain supervisory approval before deviating from prior approval.
Click the following link for more information:
USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Deference to Previous Decisions