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Premium Processing Temporarily Suspended for H-1B Extension of Status Requests

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Premium Processing Temporarily Suspended for H-1B Extension of Status Requests

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In order to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended premium processing for H-1B nonimmigrants applying to extend their status. Premium processing provides expedited processing of certain employment-based applications. More specifically, USCIS guarantees that the applications filed under Premium Processing will be adjudicated within 15 calendars days of the filing date or USCIS will return the Premium Processing fee.

This temporary suspension is expected to last until July 27, 2015. USCIS expects to receive an extremely high volume of Form I-765 applicants once the final rule becomes effective today, May 26, 2014. In an effort to provide good customer service to H-1B petitioners and H-4 applicants, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing but will review its caseload to determine whether Premium Processing applications can be accepted before their projected date of July 27, 2015.

Providing employment eligibility to H-4 dependents was an important component of President Obama’s executive actions announced in November of 2014. Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

Under the rule, H-4 dependents who are eligible for work authorization must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the associated $380 filing fee and required supporting documents. USCIS has begun accepting applications as of today, May 26, 2015, and expects to receive as many as 179,600 applications in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years.

If you have any questions about how the suspension of premium processing might affect your case or if you would like to find out more about your eligibility for work authorization as an H-4 dependent, please call to speak with one of our experienced immigration attorneys at 303-297-9171.

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