Premium Processing Expanded

September 27th, 2006

The USCIS announced that it will accept Form I-140 immigrant visa petitions for Premium Processing, which allows businesses to pay a $1,000 premium Processing fee in exchange for a two-week processing of their case.

Premium Processing requests will be available for petitions in the first employment-based preference (EB-1), the second employment-based preference (EB-2) for members of the professions with advanced degrees or exception ability (not for those seeking a National Interest Waiver), and all employment-based categories within the third employment-based “preference.” These categories involve EB-3 professionals (requiring a bachelors degree and a professional position), EB-3 skilled workers (skilled labor requiring at least two years of education, training or experience) and other workers.

Under the Premium Processing Service, USCIS guarantees that in exchange for the $1,000 fee it will issue either an approval, a denial or a request for additional evidence within 15 calendar days of receipt. If the USCIS does not do so within 15 days then it will refund the $1,000 fee and continue to process the request pursuant to Premium Processing. Furthermore, users of Premium Processing may use a special phone number and e-mail address to check on the status of their case.

Premium Processing has been available, since 2001, for certain nonimmigrant visa classifications that use the Form I-129 petition, including E Treaty Traders and Investors, H-1B Specialty Ocupation Workers, H-2B Temporary Workers performing agricultural services, H-3 Trainees, L Intracompany Transferees, O Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and those performing essential support services, P Performer and Athletes and those performing essential support services, Q International Cultural Exchange Visitors, R Religious Workers and NAFTA professionals from Canada and Mexico.

Information about Premium Processing is available on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/prem_process.htm.