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H4 EAD Premium Processing - Current Updates and All You Need to Know
April 23, 2022
5 mins
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In this updated article you will read about:

  • USCIS H4 EAD Premium Processing updates
  • Key features of premium processing bill for H4 EAD
  • The timeline of the bill passing and current updates

The Latest Updates on H4 EAD Processing Time

On Mar 30, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had some great news for applicants stuck behind months and mountains of processing backlogs. The DHS set out the specifics of a premium processing program n the Federal Register. With this new move, petitions will be adjudicated for a 15-45-day period, depending on the category of the form. There were no specific details about a time frame within which it would happen, stating that the agency would put it in place as soon as funds were available.

An Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act was enacted on Oct 30, 2020. Extensions on premium processing of selected EADs, change of status for non-immigrants, and extensions for non-immigrant status for certain classes of dependents were some of the points that were part of this Act.

Before you start reading about H4 EAD Premium Processing, read about: The H4 EAD Process: Documents Checklist & Steps to Apply

Key Features of H4 EAD Premium Processing

With the implementation of the new premium processing laws, the following provisions will be put into effect:

  • USCIS' power to suspend premium processing will be limited.
  • Suspension of premium requests will only be entertained if there are a "significant number" of premium requests, such that the agency is unable to process the number of requests in the required time.
  • There should be "reliable and direct" premium case status information from the agency to the petitioners and applicants.
  • Petitioners should have access to premium processing units at the USCIS centers to keep communication lines open.

The DHS made it a point to stress that while the rule would come into effect on May 31, 2022, premium processing benefits would only become available in line with DHS regulations. The USCIS will announce commencement in accordance with these regulations at the stipulated time.

HR 8337 - The H4 EAD Premium Processing Bill

Bill HR 8337 was put into effect by the US Congress. This bill expanded premium processing benefits to H4 EAD applicants. Current news and latest updates with timelines and a status update have been detailed below.

A Summary of Bill HR 8337

Here are the details of how premium processing of H4 EAD has been stipulated in the HR 8337 Bill passed by President Trump:

  • Once USCIS completes the regulatory process on the bill, premium processing benefits will be made available to all eligible groups, including H4 EAD applicants.
  • Congress has mandated that the fee for H4 EAD cannot be more than $1,500
  • Processing time for premium processing of H4 EAD cannot be more than 30 days.
  • Premium processing timer will only be started once the applicant meets all prerequisites. It is unclear what these are at the moment, and hopeful applicants will have to wait for the USCIS to publish exact regulations in due time.

Also Read: H4 EAD Automatic Extension

The Present Scenario in H4 Visa, H4 EAD Premium Processing USCIS

Here is the latest on premium processing news for H4 EAD as of Mar 30, 2022:

  • The HR 8337 bill was passed in US Congress with provisions added for H4 EAD applications that use the I-765 Form.
  • President Trump put the law into effect and named it public law 116 - 159 on the 1st of October, 2020.
  • President Biden and his administration were slow to put the bill into effect, and it remained in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) until the second month of 2022.
  • On Mar 30, 2022, the DHS finally passed the Regulation for Premium Processing of the H4 EAD.
  • According to details published in the Federal Register, the DHS is planning to implement premium processing on H4 visas along with H4 EAD by the financial year 2025.

The timeline below will give you additional details.

Latest News and Updates With Timeline on Premium Processing of H4 EAD

Here are the latest updates on premium processing of H4 EAD:

Mar 30, 2022 - The DHS issued the last rule to put premium processing into effect for H4 EAD, with many other groups into the Federal Register.

Revised Details for Premium Processing

Revised fee: $1,500

Current H4 EAD processing time frame: 30 days

  • The USCIS has not included H4 EAD premium processing in the initial implementation plan. It will only be implemented by 2025.
  • F1 OPT in relation to the I-765 Form was prioritized in the 2022 Financial Year rollout.

Feb 25, 2022 - The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) put the final touches on the Regulations for Premium Processing through the OIRA Regulatory Review on H4 EAD, L2 EAD, and other group laws.

Feb 9, 2022 - The OMB holds the EO 12866 stakeholders Meeting for reviewing premium processing rules for H4 EAD.

Dec 8, 2021 - Premium processing rule for H4 EAD is submitted to the OMB by the Biden administration. The USCIS is to release details once the OMB approves the rules.

Jun 11, 2021 - The Biden administration announces the Regulatory Agenda for Spring 2021. An adjustment in premium processing to include H4 EAD has been incorporated here. The original plan was to implement it in September 2021.

Oct 16, 2020 - The USCIS issues a press release with the following updates:

  • Premium processing fees for H1B categories have been pushed up to USD 2,500 according to Public Law 116 - 159.
  • Premium processing benefits have been extended to other forms.

Oct 1, 2020 - President Trump signs Bill HR 8337 into law. It has been named Law 116 - 159.

Sep, 2020 - Bill no.HR 8337 has been passed in the Senate. The bill has been introduced into the House and passed. It contains several premium processing provisions that include H4 EAD.

The Final Takeaway

The DHS has stated that the new premium processing laws will take effect when sufficient funds are available to cover overheads like hiring additional staff to ensure that other processing times are not adversely affected. Some features may be available as early as FY 2022, but others may only come into effect by 2025.

The agency has already begun streamlining processes and initiating expedited services for healthcare and childcare professionals. The USCIS continues to build on these provisions to ensure that there will be no gaps in employment authorization. Once these have been implemented, the measures aim to provide relief to employers and employees who struggle with long processing times, delays, and employment authorization gaps.

If you are looking for the right kind of information about  H1B visa, check TechFetch H1B to make the right start on your application to your dream job and location!

**Disclaimer: H1B rules and regulations keep changing from time to time. For updated information, always refer to the USCIS official website.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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