Under the Biden Administration, the USCIS has announced that it intends to fight the backlog of immigration applications through three new action steps: reducing processing backlogs, expanding premium processing, and improving access to Employment Authorization Documents. Our Chicago Immigration Law Office intends to inform all clients on what to expect with their own applications given the recent updates by the USCIS. Read below to learn more about the USCIS’ efforts to reduce backlog and wait times.
Reducing Backlogs in Processing
The USCIS has redesigned their internal cycle times to reduce the wait-time of immigration application decisions. The new cycle times reflect the average amount of time it takes the USCIS to process and decide on a case. These cycle times offer clear and consistent guidance to USCIS workers on the average time a specific application takes to process from beginning to end. For example, an application for an I-129 application takes on average 2 months to process without the premium processing service. Other applications like the N-400, I-140, or I-130 take an average of 6 months to process from start to finish. To support the internal cycle times for reducing backlog, USCIS has implemented another feature in their plan by expanding premium processing services to more application types.
Expansion of Premium Processing Service
In our Chicago office, we receive many questions surrounding the premium processing service. The term premium processing refers to a service offered by the USCIS to process applications at an accelerated rate and in previous years it was only available to applicants of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Starting on June 1st, 2022 this service will become available to applicants filing Forms I-140 under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories with the intention of gradually making the service available to applicants filing Forms I-539 and I-765. Applicants should confer with a trusted immigration attorney to judge whether premium processing will be a beneficial option for their immigration application.
Automatic Extensions on Employment Authorization Documents
USCIS has indicated its intent to approve the “Temporary Increase of the Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization and Documentation for Certain Renewal Applicants”. With the approval of this ruling, the expedition of work authorization renewals and the extension of validity periods would apply to certain EAD workers. The primary purpose of the ruling is to ensure that specific individuals do not lose their authorization for work during the time their applications are pending.