New Legislation on Bundled Dependent Applications for H-1B Holders

The H-1B visa is in high demand, but the process of obtaining one is challenging. When H-1B holders can bring their families with them to the United States, it gets even more complex. Now, legislation signed on January 19, 2023, “bundles” the forms together to reduce the complications that are often part of working and living in the US as a family.

Forms, Forms, and More Forms (But Not Anymore)

Filling out the application to obtain an H-1B visa is a process full of completing forms, waiting for approval, and completing more forms. The myriad opportunities to miss a box or complete a form incorrectly, resulting in delays, are why so many people hire legal experts like Visa2US to help them.

When you’re trying to bring your spouse and dependents with you to the US for your job, there are even more forms. In the past, this included completing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, as well as Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. These were separate forms that couldn’t be completed until after the original Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker was approved.

Now, with the new agreement, Form I-539 and I-765 can be filed together and adjudicated concurrently with Form I-129.

Class Action Litigation and the Consequences

A class action lawsuit accused USCIS of unnecessary delays due to changes in processing paperwork. H-1B visa holders couldn’t start their jobs on time if their family’s documents weren’t approved. Family members filing for Employment Authorization Documents couldn’t earn an income because of the delay in reviewing paperwork. But the recent agreement changes the new practices, returning them to the previous method of adjudication.

With the new legislation, foreign national families residing in the US for employment will find it easier to obtain adjudication for primary and dependent applications. Provided the forms are filed concurrently with the H-1B holder’s, they will process everything together. This streamlined method means document expiration dates will be the same, and work authorization for dependents will take effect without long wait periods.

The changes are beneficial for the H-1B holder and their family but will also ensure USCIS’s backlog of application processing times moves forward. 

Dependents and Spouses Can Help the Economy

The H-1B visa petition was initially designed to boost the US economy by filling gaps in employment in specialty occupations. When an H-1B holder brings their family to the country, these people can also impact the US workforce. Yet, without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), spouses and dependents can’t legally obtain a job. 

The new legislation allows these individuals to do their part to improve their lives and make an impact on the overall economy. Family members can begin working earlier by streamlining the paperwork requirements and allowing bundled applications.

USCIS is also using this legislation to reduce processing times in other ways. The revamped guidelines allow officials to use previously collected biometric information to complete new applications. If the H-4 EAD has already been extended, it can qualify for automatic extensions. And L-2 work authorizations connect with the filer’s status.

Premium processing is expanded to anyone filing Form I-149 for employment-based purposes. The enactment of this expansion is phased to ensure all legislative requirements stay on target and other categories of visa filing aren’t backlogged to handle the premium processing applications.

What’s Next?

Immigration legislation is always changing. Even if you’ve hired multiple H-1B visa workers in the past, the process may be different each time. That’s why it’s crucial to use immigration law experts like Visa2US before you take any further steps.

Whether you’re an H-1B petitioner already in the US or with the goal of getting there, or you’re an employer planning to hire foreign workers, Visa2US is here to help. Our legal professionals are available 24/7 to answer your questions, guide you in the right direction, and streamline your path to an H-1B petition approval. We keep up with the legislation and laws so that you don’t have to. 


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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.