A new trend with immigration officials is to cross-reference information contained in an application against the applicant’s previous applications. If there are inconsistencies between the applications, no matter how minor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been issuing Requests for Evidence (RFE) to point out the inconsistencies and to request clarification.
USCIS is not only reviewing previous applications filed with USCIS, but also reviewing the individual’s previous visa applications submitted to a U.S. consulate. USCIS has requested clarifications ranging from inconsistencies about previous employment dates, to more information about the applicant’s relationship with the people listed in the application as U.S. points of contact. There have been reports of USCIS issuing RFEs for information provided in visa applications submitted 10 years ago.
The issuance of an RFE is not only a frustrating delay, but there is no guarantee that USCIS will approve the application. As of October 2017, USCIS no longer gives deference to previously approved applications. So the fact that an initial application was approved does not indicate that USCIS will approve the extension application.
As immigration practices become more restrictive, a successful immigration strategy requires not only careful planning but careful review of an applicant’s file when preparing an application. Attention to detail is ever more critical to the ultimate success of an application.