A team of accomplished immigration lawyers has announced the settlement of a lawsuit encaptioned Edakunni v. Mayorkas. By the terms of the settlement, USCIS has agreed to “recouple” applications to grant or extend H-4 or L-2 status for spouses and children with the Petitions to grant or extend H-1B or L-1 status filed for the principles.
Some years ago, it was routine for USCIS to adjudicate immigration applications for spouses and children at the same time as an employer-sponsored Petition to confer H or L status on the working spouse. Then, during the previous Administration, USCIS elected to “de-couple” applications for spouses and dependents from the Petitions for the working spouse. This resulted in chaos, delays and disruptions, as Petitions for H-1B or L-1 status, filed with “premium processing” could be adjudicated in days, while the accompanying applications to grant or extend H-4 or L-2 status, and to confer employment authorization on eligible H-4 spouses, were separated from the principle case, sometimes lost, and sometimes adjudicated six, eight or more months after the adjudication of the underlying Petition.
This situation contributed to unnecessary and inexplicable hardships for families, as the H-1B/L-1 spouse would be clearly “in status” and eligible for driving privileges, travel and employment, while the derivative spouse and children would be in limbo, with long-pending applications, and no means to renew driving privileges or otherwise show valid status. With the settlement in this case, families will remain united as applications to grant or extend H-4 and L-2 status, and applications for H-4/EADs’, will now be adjudicated along with the Petitions for H-1B and L-1A/L-1B status for the principle spouse.
Note, if I-539’s and/or I-765’s for derivatives are filed separately, USCIS will not bundle the adjudication. The new procedure is expected to go into effect on January 25, 2023.
The Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch extends its appreciation and respect to lawyers Jesse Bless, Steven Brown, Jonathan Wasden, Kripa Upadhyay and the American Immigration Lawyers Association for their diligent work and successful outcome. For additional information about the settlement, contact us.