US to suspend biometric requirements for processing H4-EAD visas – The Economic Times

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This is expected to help speed up processing times for visa extensions and employment authorisation for spouses of H-1B and L1 visa holders in the United States. The move came in response to a class action lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Wasden Banias.

The US immigration agency will suspend biometrics for all H4 and L2 applications from May 17, said the lawyers at Wasden Banias, an immigration law firm.

This is expected to help speed up processing times for visa extensions and employment authorisation for spouses of H-1B and L1 visa holders in the United States.

The move came in response to a class action lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Wasden Banias.

“USCIS confirms it will suspend biometrics for ALL #h4 and #L2 applications as of May 17, 2021, in court filing in Seattle late Monday night… This is a necessary first step to restoring sanity to #H4EAD and #L2EAD adjudication times,” the law firm Wasden Banias tweeted.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

There have been several delays in processing the employment authorisation documents (EAD) for H4 visa holders, over 90% of whom are Indian women. “It’s painful for the more than 100,000 people who have lost work because of government ineptitude. It is the first step in fixing this problem. However the agency still needs to fix a system full of broken processing. Until we return to concurrent filing of applications we will see delays persist,” said Jonathan Wasden, partner, Wasden Banias.

In April, a lawsuit was filed against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) challenging the extraordinary processing delays on extensions of status and extensions of EAD for H-4 and L-2 non-immigrant spouses.

“We are thrilled USCIS has decided to rescind its biometrics requirement for H4 and L2 non-immigrants. But there is a lot more that needs to be done to restore predictability, sanity, and faith in the H and L visa programs. We are hopeful this is only the first concession we are able to get out of our litigation efforts,” said Bradley Banias, partner, Wasden Banias.

“The delays that H-4 and L-2 non-immigrants are facing needlessly place families in financial limbo…. DHS can and must revoke the unnecessary biometrics requirements for H-4 and L-2 non-immigrants, provide automatic work authorization while DHS processes EAD renewal requests, and allow EAD applicants to file their renewal applications sooner than 180 days prior to EAD expiration to prevent gaps in work authorization,” Jennifer Minear, President of AILA had said while filing the lawsuit.

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