Dear Sophie! Any USCIS updates on automatic job renewals and premium processing?

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Here is another edition “Dear Sophie”, an advice column answering immigration questions about working in tech companies.

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“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above boundaries and achieve their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you work in HR, are a founder, or are looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I am happy to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase an annual or two-year subscription with a 50% discount.

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Dear Sophie,

My H-1B expires at the end of May and my employer recently applied for an extension. I’m worried about results.

Can I add premium processing and personally pay for it? I’m thinking about self-petitioning for an EB-2 NIW green card – what’s new in premium processing?

— Hunger in high technology

Dear Hungry,

Your desire for security and freedom resonates with many! Some exciting updates from USCIS on the topics of auto-renewal and premium processing have just arrived; it’s great news that USCIS is committed to improving the quality of service.

They were delayed due to the pandemic, funding issues and paperwork, which I recently explained in my podcast on the status of immigration.

Latest news on automatic work permit renewal

USCIS just announced Automatic renewal of work permit and work permit documents (EAD) for certain renewal applicantsnew final temporary rule coming into effect soon to reduce backlog and workforce burden.

Previously, there was an automatic 180-day EAD extension for certain categories; it will be extended to 360 days for a total of 540 days from May 4, 2022 to October 26, 2023. This announcement will benefit many categories such as H-4, L-2 and E-1/E. -2/E-3 spouses, asylum seekers and asylum seekers, TPS holders and change of status applicants.


In this year’s H-1B lottery, which ended in March, USCIS received a record 483,927 registrations, a whopping 56.8% increase from 2021. Of the 85,000 H-1Bs allocated each year, 20,000 are for individuals with a master’s or higher degree from a US university. USCIS reported that about 31% of all registrants hold advanced degrees.

Unlike the annual H-1B lottery registration process, which is digital, actual H-1B petitions are still paper-based. Filing an initial H-1B petition or renewal requires submitting the application form and hard copy supporting documents to USCIS.

Composite image of immigration lawyer Sophie Alcorn with the TechCrunch logo in the background.

Image credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

For renewal, the beneficiaries of H-1B petitions are: automatically authorized work Notice of receipt of Form I-797 for a timely Employer-Filed Form I-129 Petition, up to 240 days. This is why some employers choose not to invest in premium processing for H-1B extensions.

Credit: /

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