On Apr 01 2022 by Romina Gomez

Client Alert: USCIS Announces Backlog Relief Measures

On March 29, 2022, the Biden administration announced measures to reduce the backlog and speed up processing for certain types of applications. For years, USCIS has grappled with increasing backlogs and the issue was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there are an estimated 9.5 million cases awaiting adjudication with the service. To combat the problem, the following measures have been introduced.

Expanding premium processing.

USCIS announced a phased implementation of premium processing to previously ineligible applications. Traditionally, premium processing was only available to I-129 filings and certain I-140 petitions. Under the new rule, premium processing will be available to the following categories:

  • I-140 petitions for multinational managers and National Interest Waivers (NIWs). Fee: $2,500 for adjudication within 45 days.
  • I-539 applications for F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, and M-2 will begin this fiscal year. Premium processing for E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2, H-4, O-3, P-4, or R-2 will NOT go into effect until FY2025. Fee: $1,750 for adjudication within 30 days
  • I-765 applications for OPT and Js will begin this fiscal year. Premium processing for EADs based on AOS, H-4, or L-2 filings is not currently eligible for premium processing. Fee: $1,500 for adjudication within 30 days

USCIS will announce on their website when premium processing is available, the eligibility categories for each case type, start and/or end dates for the program, as well as any other conditions that may apply. 

Employment authorization.

A rule was proposed to temporarily increase the automatic extension period for certain renewal applicants.

This rule would only apply to categories already eligible for automatic extension. Currently, eligible categories, including AOS, qualify for automatic extensions of their expiring employment authorization and/or EADs for up to 180 days. There is no confirmation of the revised timeline for the automatic extension.

Staff increase.

To meet the increasing demand for service, USCIS will hire additional staff by September 2023.

Please contact your Klasko Law attorney with any questions on this new development.  

 

The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation.  The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

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