USCIS Increases Scrutiny on Work Visa Renewals and Extensions

Under a new directive USCIS has instructed officers to treat all work visa petitions with the same scrutiny even if the employer remains the same.

USCIS Increases Scrutiny on Work Visa Renewals and Extensions

If you’re applying for an extension of your temporary work visa in the U.S., be aware: getting approved just got tougher! USCIS is increasing scrutiny on all petitions including renewals and extensions.
USCIS has issued a new initiative instructing officers to “apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests,” affecting most non-immigrant classifications that are filed using Form I-129. Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, is used in TN, L-1, H-1B and O-1 applications, among others.
Under the new policy it no longer matters if you were previously approved – the updated policy guidance directs USCIS to examine extensions as if they are first-time applicants. If your first petition was adjudicated in your favor, officers may come to a different conclusion regarding a renewal. They may request additional evidence to further evaluate your case or issue a denial. As USCIS explained in its recently-released statement, “The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination. The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.”
Richards and Jurusik can assist you with preparing the strongest petition possible that will give you your best chance of approval. We can also help prepare responses to requests for further evidence on your behalf.

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