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On March 29, 2022, the Biden administration announced measures
to reduce the backlog and speed up processing for certain types of
applications. For years, USCIS has grappled with increasing
backlogs and the issue was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To
date, there are an estimated 9.5 million cases awaiting
adjudication with the service. To combat the problem, the following
measures have been introduced.
Expanding premium processing.
USCIS announced a phased implementation of premium processing to
previously ineligible applications. Traditionally, premium
processing was only available to I-129 filings and certain I-140
petitions. Under the new rule, premium processing will be available
to the following categories:
- I-140 petitions for multinational managers and National
Interest Waivers (NIWs). Fee: $2,500 for adjudication within 45
- I-539 applications for F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, and M-2 will
begin this fiscal year. Premium processing for E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2,
H-4, O-3, P-4, or R-2 will NOT go into effect until
FY2025. Fee: $1,750 for adjudication within 30
- I-765 applications for OPT and Js will begin this fiscal year.
Premium processing for EADs based on AOS, H-4, or L-2 filings is
not currently eligible for premium processing. Fee: $1,500 for
adjudication within 30 days
USCIS will announce on their website when premium processing is
available, the eligibility categories for each case type, start
and/or end dates for the program, as well as any other conditions
that may apply.
A rule was proposed to temporarily increase the automatic
extension period for certain renewal applicants.
This rule would only apply to categories already eligible for
automatic extension. Currently, eligible categories, including AOS,
qualify for automatic extensions of their expiring employment
authorization and/or EADs for up to 180 days. There is no
confirmation of the revised timeline for the automatic
To meet the increasing demand for service, USCIS will hire
additional staff by September 2023.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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