USCIS Rescinds Deference Policy for I-129 Extensions

USCIS issued a policy memorandum on October 23, 2017, that abandons its long-held “due deference” policy for I-129 extensions, such as for H-1Bs, L-1As and L-1Bs. The policy memorandum rescinds the memorandum of April 23, 2004 titled “The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity” and section VII of the August 17, 2015, policy memo titled “L-1B Adjudications Policy.” The memorandum is immediately effective and makes it very clear that petitioner has the burden of proof where an extension of nonimmigrant status is sought, and that the same level of scrutiny to both initial and extension petitions will apply, even where the parties and the facts have not changed from the original filing.