Two recent lawsuits have challenged USCIS rules implemented under the former administration. The rules increased processing times for H-4s and H-4 EADs.
Before March 2019, USCIS typically adjudicated H-1B petitions with any H-4 dependent petitions and H-4 EAD applications. Now, USCIS can take two years to process many H-4 applications. Current processing times at the California Service Center for I-539 H dependents are 19 – 24.5 months. Wait times increased after USCIS began requiring H-4 spouses to supply biometrics.
In Kolluri v. USCIS, filed in September 2020, plaintiffs charged that the biometrics policy was designed to make retaining or obtaining H-4 work authorization more difficult. In a motion in Gona v. USCIS, filed on February 8th, 2021, plaintiff’s counsel argues that wait times for H-4 extensions outstrip those of other extension applicants. “Regardless of which service center adjudicates the petition, the applicant is mathematically guaranteed to lose immigration status and employment authorization.”