In an attempt to revive the visa and immigration services that were gravely affected due to the pandemic the United States has taken important steps to address the backlog in the past two months
This article will list five impactful changes introduced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that include premium processing to visa extensions for international students.
- Changes in work authorizations especially for spouses falling in the categories H, E, and L visas
The new guidelines for the work permits of H, E and L spouses;
- E and L dependent spouses will no longer be required to apply for EADs
( Employment Authorization Documents)
- In the cases of some H-4, E, or L dependent spouses the new guide provides the means to qualify for an automatic extension of their existing employment authorizations and accompanying EADs. This is provided they properly file an application to renew them before they expire, and have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their existing status.
- Automatic extension of their EADs will continue until the end date on Form I-94 showing valid status, the approval or denial of the EAD renewal application, or 540 days from the date of expiration of the previous EAD (whichever comes first).
2. The extension of the J-1 visa
The students in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) including recent graduates who want to begin their academic training immediately in the 30 days after completion of their STEM-related studies get the chance to do that with the availability of extension of their J-1 visas for up to 36 months.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also added 22 new fields of study have been added to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
3. Visa guidelines for O-1
The applicants with stellar records and aptitude in certain fields like sciences, education, business, athletic arts, or in fields like the motion picture or television production can extend their O-1 visas.
For availability of this extension, it is important that the applicant exhibits “extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim, or a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry, and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability,” the guidelines read.
However, the fresh set of guidelines demands the submission of evidence to establish sustained acclaim and recognition in case an applicant opts for a particular criterion that doesn’t match their occupation.
4. Premium Processing For EB-1 and EB-2 holders
The new guidelines have introduced a premium process for 140 petitioners who have pending petitions under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories.
However, this process will happen in phases:
- From June 1, 2022: Form I-907 requests for E13 multinational executive and manager petitions (received on or before January 1, 2021) will be accepted.
July 1, 2022, onwards: Form I-907 requests for E21 NIW petitions (received on or before June 1, 2021, and E13 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before March 1, 2021) will be taken into consideration.
The premium processing availability of additional Form I-140 employment petitions, change of status I-539 forms and I-765 EAD forms will continue to take place during the several phases of expansion.
5. There will be an Extension of the Period Of Authorized Work
This will be particularly effective for certain renewal applicants who have filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and qualify for an automatic extension of their expiring employment authorization and/or EADs while their application is pending. This includes family, employment, specialty, TPS, asylum, and diversity applicants.
This extends the applicant’s authorized period of work from 180 days to 540 days. The USCIS hopes this will help immigrants avoid gaps in employment due to pending EAD renewal applications.
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