The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved Premium Processing for Forms I-140, I-129, I-539 extension and I-539 Change of status as well as for Form I-756. This means that as soon as the rule is published in the Federal Register, petitions will get adjudicated in a span of 15 to 45 days, depending upon the form category. This is great news for those stuck in processing backlogs for months on end.
Extending the premium processing option to certain employment authorization forms, nonimmigrant change of status, and nonimmigrant extensions for some dependents is part of the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act signed into law on October 1, 2020.
Additionally, this new law will also implement the following –
- Limit USCIS’ ability to suspend premium processing;
- Allow suspension of premium processing only when the agency cannot complete a “significant number” of premium requests within the required time period.
- Agency should provide petitioners and applicants with “direct and reliable” access to premium case status information.
- Agency should provide petitioners with the ability to communicate with premium processing units at USCIS Service Centers.
New Premium Processing Fees
Once the rule goes into effect over the course of several months, a new fee structure will be implemented. The revised fee schedule and timeframes are as follows –
|Case Type||Processing Timeline||Premium Processing Fee|
|Most Form I-140 EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 petitions||15 calendar days (current)||$2,500|
|Form I-140 EB-1 Multinational ManagerForm I-140 EB-2 National Interest WaiverForm I-140 EB-2 Physician||45 days||Not greater than $2,500|
|Form I-129 Nonimmigrant Worker Petitions||15 calendar days (current)||$2,500|
|Form I-539 Change/Extension of Status to F, J or M||30 days||Not greater than $1,750|
|Form I-539 Change/Extension of Status for E, H, L, O, P and R Dependents||30 days||Not greater than $1,750|
|Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization||30 days||Not greater than $1,500|
Next Steps – What To Expect
Today premium processing with a 15-day adjudication timeframe is currently available for some employment based petitions like I-129 and I-140. Petitioner should contact their immigration counsel for advice on expediting their petitions through premium processing.
With the implementation of the new rule (which is yet to be published in the Federal Register to go fully live) petitioners of several other immigration categories will be able to avail of this facility as well.
It is important to note here that all the details of the final regulation will remain confidential until it is published in the Federal Register.
Once published, USCIS will implement premium processing for newly eligible categories in phases over the course of several months or more, instead of all at once.
So, stay tuned for dates, case types, fees, and timelines for the new expanded Premium Processing options.