On October 24, 2017 USCIS issued a binding policy memorandum regarding the burden of proof that applies when nonimmigrants seek an extension of their status. Under the new policy, officers will no longer give deference to the prior visa approval when deciding whether to grant an extension of the visa. The policy takes effect immediately and affects those applying to extend their nonimmigrant visa status, including H, L, F and all other nonimmigrant categories
Previous USCIS guidance in 2004 instructed officers to defer to the prior determination of eligibility made in the initial petition when deciding whether to grant an extension of stay that involved the same parties and the same underlying facts. The new policy revokes and supersedes this longstanding policy.
Employers and individuals holding nonimmigrant status should expect greater scrutiny of extension requests and an increased likelihood of receiving requests for evidence or notices of intent to deny in connection with such applications.
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Finnan, Fleischut & Associates will continue to keep our clients advised of important developments in this area. If you have specific questions about how these developments affect a current or possible future situation, please contact us.