Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared numerous initiatives to help streamline the adjudication of benefit requests and reduce significant backlogs. Most importantly, the agency declared that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalized the rule extending premium processing to extra application types, including:
- All I-140 petitions, including for the EB1(c) category and for EB2 national interest waivers (NIWs), both of which historically have not had access to premium processing
- Form I-539 applications, which are utilized to apply for changes or extensions of status for most dependents (e.g., H-4, L-2), along with F-1 students, B-1/B-2 visitors, etc.
- Form I-765, which is used to apply for EADs
USCIS Announces Plans for Expansion of Premium Processing
While the final rule has not yet been issued. The USCIS declared that it plans to implement the extension of premium processing in a phased approach this year. Starting with extending premium handling to Form I-140 petitions for the EB1(c) classification and EB2 national interest waivers (NIWs).
The USCIS also reported that the agency will establish new internal cycle time goals. To help reduce the processing times of a few applications. Also, the cycle time goals will allow the agency to review and analyze its progress in reducing case backlogs and case processing.
The Murthy Law Firm will continue to monitor this development. Including the publication of the final premium processing rule in the Federal Register. Which will probably give a timeline of the premium processing expansion phases.
Related USCIS initiatives
In a related development, to decrease backlogs and extended processing times. USCIS also declared a forthcoming temporary final regulation that is supposed to temporarily expand the automatic extension of Form I-765 employment authorization for certain renewal candidates. It is not yet clear whether the final regulation would lengthen the automatic extension period. However, it expands the categories of EADs eligible for the automatic extension, or both.