USCIS Agrees to Bundle H-4, L-2, and EAD Applications Filed with Principal Spouse’s Petition23 Jan 2023
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has entered into a settlement agreement, whereas the agency has agreed to bundle an application to extend or change to H-4 or L-2 status and, if applicable, an employment authorization document (EAD) application, if the application/s are filed with the principal spouse’s corresponding H1B or L-1 petition. Most notably, this means that, if the H1B or L-1 petition is filed using premium processing, the H-4 or L-2 applications also will be processed using premium service.
Background on the Settlement Agreement
Until 2019, as a courtesy, the USCIS routinely would provide premium processing service for any application to extend / change nonimmigrant status (form I-539) and application for employment authorization (form I-765), when they were filed together with the H1B or L-1 petition for a nonimmigrant worker (form I-129) for the principal spouse / parent. Under the Trump Administration, however, the USCIS eliminated this benefit.
To settle a class action lawsuit filed by numerous H-4 and L-2 applicants who had experienced lengthy processing delays, the USCIS agreed to resume the coupling of I-539 and I-765 applications that are packaged and properly filed together with the I-129 petition. This applies regardless of whether the I-129 petition is filed requesting premium processing. It also presumably should apply when cases are filed jointly for regular processing, and then later “upgraded” to premium processing. The terms of the agreement will go into effect on January 25, 2023, and will remain in-force for two years.
This settlement agreement undoubtedly will help a great many families in H and L status. Subscribe to the MurthyBulletin to have weekly updates on immigration matters delivered to your inbox.
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