Reddy & Neumann, an employment based attorneys have field a court case challenging USCIS’s delays in approving H4 EAD work permits.
The case claims that there are unprecedented delays in H4 and H4 EAD processing even when they are filed with H1B in premium. It seems that USCIS and DHS are trying to take the H4 dependent’s work authorization away by intentionally delaying the EAD approvals.
The H4 biometric requirement, which is probably not required by law, was added recently by USCIS for all applications filed using form i-539 from Mar 22, 2019 on-wards.
The case will be heard in federal court of Washington DC and claims that there are coordinated actions taken by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to
unlawfully increase the processing time of H4 & EAD applications.
Chances of Winning H4 EAD Delays Court Case
Once the lawsuit is filed, the government has 60 days to respond by either processing the I-539 or fighting the lawsuit. Normally, they don’t want to deal with the hassle of the lawsuit and instead just settle by approving the applications.
There are good chances that court may ask USCIS to speed up the process if they decide to fight. The chances are even higher than USCIS may once again start processing the H4 and H4 EAD within 15 days with H1B premium application. The 15 day period may start after biometrics are completed for H4.
But, remember that if USCIS does not decide to fight the case and approve the H4 and H4 EAD instead, then only the cases included in this case might be approved faster than others.
Attorneys have observed in last couple of months that USCIS is not processing the H4 and H4 EAD in 15 calendar days with premium H1B as a courtesy that has been a norm for past many years.
If court passes any judgement to direct USCIS to speed up the process, it is going to benefit about 50k+ H4 EAD workers. The chances of any conclusion in the next 2-3 months are not likely as such. We will keep updating this page as more news creeps in.
USCIS allows to file for EAD renewal 180 days in advance of current card’s expiry as there is no automatic extension or interim EAD available for H4 dependents. I suggest to not rely on the decision of this case at this time and file your EAD extension 6 months before expiry to maintain your continuity of work.
How to Join the Lawsuit
As per one of our user who contacted RN law group, their legal fee for this process is $1,800. Court costs will be split evenly among co-plaintiffs and would not exceed $600.
If you are interested in joining, you can set up a consultation with either Steven Brown, Kristina Hernandez, Vy Hoang, or Justin Rivera from RN law office to discuss your particular situation for an initial evaluation. If you choose to join the litigation, their consultation fees can be credited to the legal fees for court case.
H4 EAD Court Case Details
Please note that this case does not challenge the DHS decision to terminate H4 EADs. The case only challenges the delays caused by USCIS in approving the work permits after fingerprinting.
The case explains the need of H4 EAD for the H1B workers waiting in decade long queues to see their prized US Green card someday.
As per the data shared in official case:
- USCIS average time spent on processing a Form I-539 (H4) is 24 minutes.
- Average time taken on Form I-765 (H4 EAD) is merely 12 minutes.
H1B Premium Processing Not Honored for H4 EAD
The lawyers stress the fact that since all 3 applications for one H1B family present the similar facts, there is minimal effort required to work on H-4 and H-4 EAD applications along with H1B. These petitions have always been approved at the same time as the primary H-1B beneficiary’s extension.
The major addition to total processing time has been added by the new Biometric appointments which incidentally is not required by regulation or statute and was a creation of USCIS not supported by any rule of law.
Although, USCIS stated that they would take steps to approve these H-4 and H-4 EAD applications faster after biometrics, there is no real case to prove it on ground. USCIS call center executives now advise that all premium H4 and H4 EAD cases are being processed in regular queues.
H4 EAD Workers Job Loss
H-4 EAD workers are on the verge of losing their jobs, insurance and driver’s licenses which can cause a significant strain on their personal finances as well as the American businesses that employ them.
As per law (8 U.S.C. § 1571), both the H-4 extension and the H-4 EAD are non-immigrant benefits that Congress expected the agency to complete within 30 days.
The court case is represented by Reddy & Neumann law group and has been filed on behalf of existing H4 dependents primarily from India:
- SRIHARSHA GUDLA of Texas
- SAI LAXMI KAULLU from Pennsylvania
- SAI DURGAM VASAVI from Georgia
- Person (name removed on request) from Illinois