FEBRUARY 2023
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Immigration

Child Status Protection and Premium Processing

By Dilip Patel

Dilip Patel

DILIP PATEL

This month, we would like to share several items of interest to our readers.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will expand the Premium Processing Program. Effective Jan. 30, 2023, multi-national executives and managers, as well as applicants for National Interest Waivers can use the program, which guarantees review of petitions within 15 days of filing based on payment of an additional $2,500 filing fee.

While it is generally good to get a decision quickly, those with dependent children close to age 21 should seek expert advice about the implications on Child Status Protection.  A child’s age for Child Status Protection is generally calculated on the later of either the first of the month when visa numbers are shown as available in the final action chart of the Visa Bulletin, or the date when the I-140 is approved. On that date, the child’s age is reduced by the number of days it took USCIS to approve the I-140 Petition. For those chargeable to the India or China quotas, note that the final action date is backed up to Feb. 1, 2022. So, the longer it takes USCIS to process the I-140 petition, the longer the child could remain eligible for child status protection. In some situations, premium processing could adversely affect a child’s eligibility to qualify for a Green Card with the parent.

More on Premium Processing
On Jan. 12, USCIS also announced other plans to expand premium processing. In March, USCIS will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In April, USCIS will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765. Specific dates specific dates for each group will be announced in February.

USCIS states that as they implement the expansion of premium processing in a phased approach, they will continue working toward premium processing availability of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. USCIS anticipates expanding premium processing for certain student and exchange visitors with pending Form I-539 applications in May and certain student and exchange visitors who are filing initial Form I-539 applications in June. That will be great news for those seeking to change to F-1 student status while in USA on another visa. Currently, many colleges refuse to issue I-20’s to students who are seeking a change of status because of the long processing times at USCIS.

Dilip Patel of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 222-1120 or email dilip.patel@bipc.com

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