U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it will temporarily suspend premium processing of Petitions for H-1B extensions beginning on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. USCIS will continue to process H-1B extensions that were received prior to May 26.  USCIS will refund the premium processing fee for H-1B extensions filed prior to May 26, 2015, but not processed within the 15-calendar-day period.

USCIS will allocate these resources to allow for timely implementation and processing of the new rule granting Employment Authorization to H-4 Spouses that are dependents of beneficiaries of approved I-140 Immigrant Petitions.

As a reminder, effective May 26, 2015, eligibility for employment authorization will be extended to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.

Eligible individuals will include H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who either:

  1. Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  2. Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act permitting H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the U.S. beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

Eligible applicants must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive an Employment Authorization Document.