It has always been the policy of USCIS to simultaneously adjudicate H-1Bs and H-4s filed concurrently. However, the new I-539 biometrics requirement promulgated in March of this year has resulted in a change to this practice. We have heard from colleagues that H-4s are no longer necessarily being adjudicated at the same time as the underlying H-1B petitions. This is especially important in the premium processing context; the underlying H-1B petition will be approved within the 15 calendar day window but the H-4 will remain pending. This also means that H-4 EADs filed concurrently with the H-1B/H-4 will similarly not receive premium processing. A colleague who spoke to a USCIS officer at the California Service Center confirmed that the I-539 will no longer receive premium processing under any circumstance, even if the biometrics are already complete. A very disappointing development and yet another brick in the invisible wall.
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