It is a common misconception to think that prior approval from immigration agencies will be a positive factor for new immigration applications. That is not always the case. And, in fact, immigration agencies came out with a new explicit rule this fall that prior approval will not be taken into consideration when evaluating extensions of nonimmigrant visas.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a new procedure in which extension of nonimmigrant statuses will be evaluated just the same as a brand-new petition. Therefore, an extension application must have substantial supporting evidence for why the applicant qualifies for the underlying visa as well as an extension. Typically, for extension applications, a person would include evidence regarding what he or she plans on doing during the extra time requested.
However, now, immigration agencies will also be analyzing whether the person qualifies for the underlying visa category as well. For example, if an artist came to the United States on an O-1 visa and now wants to extend the visa time, he or she can expect scrutiny regarding extraordinary ability, achievement, work experience, etc. In other words, USCIS will be determining whether the applicant even qualified for an O-1 visa without regard of the prior approval. Immigrant is always responsible to show eligibility for a visa, even on extension applications.
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--Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, J.D.
Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Orange County, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended and does not constitute legal advice. This article does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not provide an attorney/client privilege. For legal advice about your specific case, please contact an attorney.
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