The current administration has proposed an increase in funding for the USCIS, and now the USCIS is declaring that it will be taking steps to achieve faster processing times.
The USCIS is planning to hire additional staff, implement new internal cycle time goals, and upgrade its technology. If it succeeds in reducing processing times, the backlogs should decrease as well. The goals it has set for cycle times are two months for Petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers (Form I-129), three months for an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), an Advance Parole (Form I-131), and an Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539), and six months for an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) and an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140). These times are for standard processing. Premium processing costs an extra $2,500 in filing fees.
The USCIS also intends to increase the availability of premium processing. Currently, premium processing is only available for those petitioners who file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and to some employment-based immigrant visa petitioners who are filing an Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140). The USCIS was first allowed to do this in 2020. Now the USCIS has stated that it will be phasing in new premium processing. It intends to start with Form I-140. The new premium processing service will allow people to pay from $1,500 to $2,500 to obtain expedited processing for their applications. This new service will begin on May 30. It will be phased in for the following forms:
The USCIS will also be implementing a new rule, the Temporary Increase of the Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization and Documentation for Certain Renewal Applicants. The USCIS has already been working to streamline its EAD processing in addition to expediting renewals for childcare and healthcare workers.
The agency plans to continue this process so that workers do not have gaps in their employment authorization. Learn More
At this time, applicants typically have to wait for more than 10 months to be issued an EAD renewal.
These changes should be quite helpful for employees and employers who need to deal with long processing times and sometimes even gaps in employment authorization.
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