USCIS to adjudicate spousal applications concurrently filed with H1B and L1 petitions
On January 20, 2023, USCIS indicated that it will adjudicate any I-539 and I-765 applications for dependent spouses and children that are concurrently submitted with an underlying I-129 petition for H-1B or L-1 status. This will be done whether the I-129 petition was submitted via regular processing or premium processing.
So what does this mean? When an employer files a petition for H-1B or L-1 status on behalf of its employee, that employee’s spouse and children can submit their applications to change or extend their respective H-4 or L-2 status with that petition. If eligible, the dependent spouse can also submit his or her application for employment authorization (EAD) with the application as well. In the past, USCIS would adjudicate all of the applications separately based on their respective timelines. This meant that an H-1B transfer could be approved, while the wife and children’s H-4 statuses remained pending for several more months. It could also mean that H-4’s were approved but EAD’s were not approved at the same time. This reinstated policy will ensure that if the underlying employer petition is approved, all dependent applications and EAD applications that were submitted concurrently would be adjudicated (and hopefully approved) at the same time. This will alleviate the burden and uncertainty many family members of certain non-immigrant visas face.