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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
With the implementation of the new premium processing laws, the following provisions will be put into effect:
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:
Also Read: H4 EAD Automatic Extension
Here is the latest on premium processing news for H4 EAD as of Mar 30, 2022:
The timeline below will give you additional details.
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
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:
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.
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**Disclaimer: H1B rules and regulations keep changing from time to time. For updated information, always refer to the USCIS official website.