Premium Processing for Immigration Cases Expanded

Frustrated by lengthy processing times for visas and employment authorization? USCIS offers a solution, but it comes at a price and does not affect your chances of success. With premium processing, USCIS guarantees that it will take adjudicative action on your petition within a shortened time frame. That action must either be an approval notice, request for evidence, notice of intent to deny, denial notice, or an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.

There are two ways to request premium processing: by filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, and the fee together with a petition or application, or by filing Form I-907 and the fee to convert a pending petition or application. For employer-sponsored cases, either the employer or the employee can pay the premium processing fee.

The time period and fee vary depending on the type of case. As of June 2023, four immigrant and nonimmigrant forms are eligible for premium processing:

  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker;
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Only certain classifications within these forms are eligible for premium processing.

The following paragraphs break down the premium processing eligibility, times and costs for different forms and classifications.


Form I-129:

  • E-1 and E-2 (treaty trader and investors)
  • E-3 (professional specialty occupations for Singaporeans and Australians)
  • H-1B (professional specialty occupations)
  • H-3 (trainees)
  • L-1A, L-1B and LZ (Blanket L-1) (intracompany transferees)
  • O-1 and O-2 (extraordinary ability aliens)
  • P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3 and P-3S (performing athletes, artists and entertainers)
  • Q-1(international cultural exchange workers)
  • TN-1 and TN-2 (NAFTA/US Mexico Canada Agreement for Canadians professionals (no visa required) and Mexicans)


    • Processing time: 15 calendar days
    • Fee: $2,500


  • R-1(religious workers)
  • H-2B (temporary workers)


    • Processing time: 15 calendar days
    • Fee: $1,500

Form I-765:

  • Categories: F-1 students seeking pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), post-completion OPT, or STEM OPT extensions.
  • Processing time: 30 calendar days.
  • Fee: $1,500

Form I-539:

  • Individuals with pending change of status applications for F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 classifications
  • Processing time: 30 calendar days.
  • Fee: $1,750

Form I-140:

  • Categories:
    • EB-1A extraordinary ability aliens
    • EB-1B outstanding researchers and professors
    • EB-2 professionals holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability (excluding National Interest Waivers),
    • EB-3 skilled workers,
    • EB-3 professionals holding a bachelor’s degree
    • EB other workers
  • Processing time: 15 calendar days
  • Fee: $2,500.


  • Categories:
    • EB-1C multinational executives and managers
    • EB-2 National Interest Waivers
  • Processing time: 45 calendar days.
  • Fee: $2,500.

If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), the premium processing clock for your case will reset and start again when USCIS receives your response. For example, if USCIS issues an RFE 40 days after it receives your E-21 National Interest Waiver petition, USCIS can take another 45 days to adjudicate your petition after it receives your response. Therefore, it is in your best interest to submit properly completed forms and all necessary documents when you file any petition with premium processing.

If USCIS does not act on your case within these time frames, it will refund the premium processing fee.

If you have questions about whether premium processing is the right choice for you, contact Attorney Monique Kornfeld. Expert legal advice and representation can save you valuable time and money.