By Sang M. Shin
USCIS has recently announced important immigration policies involving COVID-19, H-4 and L-2 applications, EB-1 and EB-2 Form 1-140 petitions, F-1 students, and permanent resident cards (“green cards”).
1. Select COVID-19 Related Flexibilities Extended
Applicants’ response to a request or notice issued between March 1, 2020, and March 23, 2023, will receive a 60-day grace period after the due date. Requests or notices include:
- Requests for Evidence
- Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
- Notices of Intent to Deny
- Notices of Intent to Revoke
- Notices of Intent to Rescind
- Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers
- Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status
- Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant
Additionally, Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion or Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA) will be considered if filed up to 90 days from the issuance of a decision from USCIS and if the decision was made between November 1, 2021, and March 23, 2023.
This will be the final extension, with the exception of any changes presented by the pandemic. After March 23, 2023, requesters must comply with the response requirements of a request or notice.
For more information about COVID-19 related flexibilities, visit USCIS Extends COVID-19-related Flexibilities.
2. Processing of H-4 and L-2 Dependent Applications with a Principal’s Form I-129 (“Batch Filing”) Resumes
Following a settlement agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) obtained in federal court (Edakunni v. Mayorkas), USCIS will resume their historic practice of deciding H-4 and L-2 applications for requests to change or extend status on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and employment authorization on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization at the same time as principals’ nonimmigrant petitions on Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker when forms are simultaneously filed.
Effective January 25, 2023, the change will remain in place for two years after the effective date of the settlement. Concurrent decisions are expected to reduce the lengthy processing times for H-4 and L-2 dependents. The update will also extend premium processing to dependent applications filed with a principal’s premium processed I-129. An official expansion of premium processing to I-539 and I-765 is anticipated in phases through 2025, with the first phase (for F-1 change of status and EADs) expected in the coming months.
An announcement from USCIS on the settlement agreement is expected to be issued soon.
For more information about H-4 and L-2 applications, visit United States: USCIS Agrees to Resume Processing H-4 and L-2 Dependent Applications with a Principal’s Form I-129, Per Litigation Settlement.
3. EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for F-1 Students
Beginning January 30, 2023, Form I-907 applications will be accepted for requests of all (pending or initial) EBl-3 multinational executive and manager petitions and EB2 National Interest Waiver petitions.
Furthermore, future premium processing expansion is anticipated for certain students and exchange visitors who are filing an initial Form I-539 in June.
For more information about form 1-140 and F-1 students, visit USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form 1-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for F-1 Students Seeking OPT and Certain Student and Exchange Visitors.
4. Validity of Permanent Resident Cards (“Green Cards”)
On January 23, 2023, USCIS announced an extension of the validity of permanent resident cards (“green cards”).
The extension for Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status started on January 11, 2023. For EB-5 investors who file the I-829 petition to remove conditions on their green cards, the I-829 receipt notice will automatically extend their conditional green card status for up to 48 months while waiting on the adjudication of the I-829 petition to complete the EB-5 immigration process.
As of January 25, 2023, the extension will also apply to petitioners who filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
For more information about the extension of forms I-751 and I-829, visit USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for Conditional Permanent Residents with a Pending Form I-751 or Form I-829 on the USCIS website.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For additional assistance related to recent policy changes, please contact an attorney in Jackson Walker’s Business Immigration & Compliance practice.
Sang M. Shin is a business immigration attorney with broad experience managing immigration matters for companies, individuals, investors and institutions through the U.S. and internationally. Sang handles a wide range of nonimmigrant visas and petitions, and also provides advanced and strategic advice to clients on a variety of immigrant visas and labor certification (PERM). He handles family-based cases and U.S. citizenship matters, and regularly represents companies in connection with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of State (DOS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) audits.
Outside of his practice, Sang serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Bar Association of Houston, a trustee of the Asian American Bar Foundation of Houston, the secretary of the Asian Pacific Islander Section of the State Bar of Texas, and a council member of the Immigration Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Founded in 1887, Jackson Walker has played a vital role in the growth and development of Texas business. With more than 450 attorneys across seven Texas-based offices, the Firm represents Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, major financial institutions, insurance companies, and a wide range of public companies and private businesses around the globe.
Our Business Immigration & Compliance practice provides integrated legal solutions to complex problems that permit our clients to achieve U.S. immigration objectives. The team’s experience ranges from foreign investors and business owners; international and domestic start-ups, small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and public companies who employ individuals that need U.S. visa options to grow and expand their business; families who wish to live in the U.S. temporarily and/ permanently; and persons who wish to acquire U.S. citizenship.