Just as the Biden Administration is proposing increased funding for USCIS to help reduce the agency’s backlog, USCIS is announcing future new actions to improve processing times.
- Plans to expand staffing, improve its technology, and establish new internal cycle time goals (the amount of time it takes to process a typical case). As the cycle times reduce, so should the backlogs. New cycle time goals include: two months for I-129 forms (Petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers), three months for forms I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), I-131 (Advance Parole), and I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status), and six months for forms I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). All of this will be without premium processing which currently costs an additional $2,500 in filing fees.
- Will introduce the optional premium processing service for more types of forms, including I-765s, I-539s, and I-140s for Multinational Executives and Managers and National Interest Waivers. Congress gave USCIS the ability to do this in 2020, but advocates have been waiting since then for the USCIS to implement the new premium processing by setting out the specific fees and adjudication times for each new type of process. It seems that this is now happening. USCIS has said the new premium processing will be phased in starting with the I-140s. The premium processing filing fees for these additional forms will be in the $1,500 to $2,500 range.
- Will introduce a new rule: Temporary Increase of the Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization and Documentation for Certain Renewal Applicants. The agency has already begun streamlining EAD processes and providing some expedited renewals for healthcare and childcare workers. USCIS plans to build on this to ensure that individuals do not experience gaps in employment authorization.
Once implemented, these measures should provide needed relief for employers and employees who have been struggling with long processing delays and gaps in employment authorization. If you have questions about the new goals and processes, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist and will provide updates as they become available.