H1B Visa Spouses Face Upto 36 Month Delay In Getting Work Permit; Will Joe Biden Take Some Action Now?

H1B Visa Spouses Face Upto 36 Month Delay In Getting Work Permit; Will Joe Biden Take Some Action Now?
H1B Visa Spouses Face Upto 36 Month Delay In Getting Work Permit; Will Joe Biden Take Some Action Now?

When Donald Trump was the President of America, he made it a point to enforce stricter rules about H-1B and H4 visas. However, even with Joe Biden in power, things haven’t changed much – obtaining a work permit in the US is a process filled with tedious obstacles.

The spouses of H-1b visa workers are reportedly facing a delay of as much as 36 months in getting a work permit. 

Spouses Of H-1B Visa Holders Still Suffering Delays In Visa Extension

There was a time when an H-1B holder along with their spouse and children would be able to file for an extension and their applications would be processed together. 

However, in March 2019, it was declared by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that people in the US who wished to change or exchange their status would be required to attend a biometric appointment for the adjudication of their cases. 

In simple terms, this meant that there would be different processes and timelines for the adjudication of H-1B holders and their dependents.

This also resulted in an extended waiting period for the processing of visa applications. The website of the USCIS states that the processing time was 3.3 months in 2018, 4 months in 2019 and 5.5 months in 2020. However, the individual processing times in each service center show a different timeline which does not align with the overall times.

A biometric appointment is required for those asking for an extension despite being given biometrics while obtaining a visa in an overseas consulate and given biometrics again at the port of entry as well. 

Are These Trump’s Attempts To Make Extension Process Difficult?

The USCIS states that the new biometric requirement is nothing more than a procedural change in order to maintain the integrity of the immigration system. However, it is clear that this is a part of Trump’s attempts to ensure that the spouses of H-1B visa holders would not get to work hassle-free.

Additionally, during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS had announced a waive of biometric requirements for other categories of people taking into account the effect of job losses. However, the same hasn’t been extended to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

In January, we reported that the newly elected US President Joe Biden has withdrawn a Trump-era rule rescinding work authorization for H4 visa holders, in just a week after his inauguration.

An immigration reform bill had also been sent to Congress by Joe Biden, hours after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. This reform bill covers an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, delivering aid to Central America as well as bolster border security with new screening technologies.

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