USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT WHICH SHOULD STREAMLINE EADS FOR H-4 AND L-2 DERIVATIVES
In a recently signed settlement, USCIS agrees to return to bundling the adjudication of I-539s and I-756s for H-4 and L-2 derivative along with the underlying I-129 petition when these forms are filed together. Prior to March 2019, USCIS would adjudicate an H-4 dependent petition and the H-4 EAD application at the same time as the accompanying H-1B petition, however wait times grew significantly after USCIS changed its policy. Recently, the H-4 visa extensions submitted on Form I-539 have taken up to two years to process. It is expected that this settlement will cause the processing times for these Forms to return back to the prior processing time of fewer than four months.
USCIS EXTENDS GREEN CARD VALIDITY FOR CERTAIN CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
On January 23, 2023, USCIS announced that it will be automatically extending the validity of Green Cards for petitioners who properly filed Form I-751 or Form I-829 for 48 months beyond the cards expiration date. According to USCIS, this new policy is in an effort to combat the lengthy wait times for processing of these two Forms, which has increased in the past year. USCIS will issue new receipt notices to eligible permanent residents who have previously received notices and been granted a shorter extension period than the newly instituted policy of 48 months. These receipt notices can be presented in conjunction with an expired Green Card as confirmation that the holder is still in lawful status. This will also allow the applicant to remain authorized to work and travel for 48 months.
PREMIUM PROCESSING SOON TO BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL EB-1C AND EB-2 NIW PETITIONS
Beginning January 30, 2023, USCIS will accept premium processing requests filled concurrently with Form I-140 petitions for EB-1C Multinational Executives and Managers, and EB-2 NIW Green Card categories. USCIS will also begin to accept requests to upgrade any currently pending I-140 petitions to premium processing for these two categories. In March, it will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT who have a pending EAD application. In April, it will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765 for EAD.