USCIS recently announced that beginning May 26, 2015, it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015. This temporary change has been implemented so that USCIS will have the time and workforce to put into effect the new rule allowing certain H-4 spouses to apply for work authorization. USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B Extension of Stay petitions filed with Form I-907 prior to May 26, 2015.
If you are currently in H-1B status and had planned to premium process your extension of stay during this time period, do not panic. Under the “240-day rule,” a beneficiary of a timely filed extension of stay can continue his/her employment with the petitioning employer, while the extension of stay is pending with USCIS, for a period of up to 240 days beyond the expiration of the prior period of authorized stay. Even though the beneficiary is not actually in a lawful nonimmigrant status while the petition is pending, he or she does not accrue “unlawful presence” for purposes of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the act, as long as the petition was filed prior to the expiration of Form I-94.
This temporary suspension may also affect you if you currently have a driver’s license based on your H-1B status. If you file your H-1B Extension of Stay petition during this time period and do not receive your Approval Notice timely, you may not be able to renew your driver’s license if it expires. DMV requirements vary by state so applicants should check their local DMV website to see if this will apply to them.
If you are currently in H-1B status and have questions on this temporary suspension or are interested in applying for H-1B status, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!