On May 19, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for extensions of H-1B visas. The suspension is in effect from May 26 until July 27, 2015 and effects immigration law in San Diego as well as throughout the United States. During this period of suspension, employers who had already submitted petitions were notified that they should expect refunds of their filing fees.
The effective date changed and as of July 13th, Premium Processing resumed in H1b extension cases.
The USCIS makes premium processing available to employers who wish to extend the H-1B visa status of their foreign staff. This request must be made by means of USCIS Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, plus a filing fee of $1,225.
The reason for suspending this expedited service is to give USCIS officials and administrators time to implement a new rule that allows the spouses of certain H-1B immigrants to apply for work permits. The rule in question is H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Under this rule, the husband or wife of a foreign worker who has been authorized to stay in the U.S. longer than six years can obtain a work permit.
It is important to note that the H-4 EAD rule does not automatically apply to all H-1B applicants. This rule was enacted by the Obama administration to benefit certain immigrants who are exceptionally skilled, and who are selected to work on certain research projects under the provisions of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. These immigrants are more likely to not only get H-1B visa extensions, they are also more likely to petition for adjustment of status and legal residency.
While the H-4 EAD program is of great benefit to the spouses and families of H-1B immigrants, special interest groups have challenged the legality of the program. Should there be an injunction granted in court against the rule, no further suspensions of the premium processing service would be required.
If you’re a prospective H1B Visa applicant, reach out to KS Visa Law San Diego for help filing your paperwork. Professional assistance can offer applicants peace of mind during the stressful and competitive application process knowing all items are properly filled out and submitted correctly. Call (858) 874-0711 today to schedule a free consultation.