For some EB-1 and EB-2 form i-140 petitions that were previously filed, USCIS will adopt a second phase of premium processing.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in an official final rule published on May 24, 2022, that it would be implementing premium processing for certain previously filed pending Form I-140 petitions, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, filed under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system.
The backlogs are mostly the effect of the pandemic and the delays it generated. USCIS had a startling 5 million files backlogged as of January 2022.
From June 1, 2022, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement premium processing for certain previously filed EB-1 and EB-2 petitioners who have a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
Individuals who previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 classification as a multinational executive and manager petitions or an E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking national interest waiver(NIW) will be eligible for the new premium processing expansion.
Timelines for the Second Phase of Premium Processing
According to USCIS, the following will be the initial phase of premium processing expansion:
- Starting June 1, 2022, USCIS will begin accepting Form I-907, Requests for Premium Processing, for E13 multinational executive and manager petitions received by the USCIS on or before January 1, 2021.
- Starting July 1, 2022, USCIS will begin accepting Form I-907 requests for E21 national interest waiver (NIW) petitions received on or before June 1, 2021.
- From July 1, 2022, USCIS will begin accepting Form I-907 requests for E13 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before March 1, 2021.
- Interfiled requests for premium processing upgrade for any of the above before the effective start dates will be rejected by USCIS.
- The agency will also not accept new Form I-140 petitions with a premium processing request that does not fall within the timelines mentioned above.
In terms of Form I-907 itself:
- USCIS will accept both the 09/30/20 and the 05/31/22 editions of the form in June 2022.
- USCIS will reject premium processing requests for older versions from July 1, 2022.
How long does it take for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process requests?
Premium processing requests for Form I-140 categories should be processed within 45 days by USCIS.
At this time, new (initial) Form I-140s with premium processing requests are not being accepted.
How Much Does Premium Processing Cost?
This expanded premium processing fee will continue to cost $2,500, but unlike the existing 15-day premium processing period, USCIS will guarantee adjudication within 45 days.
Nonetheless, this is a significant improvement over the existing 12-to-18-month delays for many applicants.
Why are Premium Processing Requests Being Expanded by USCIS?
USCIS stated that expanding premium processing advantages are being provided on a staggered basis to boost efficiency when revenues are available to engage additional staff, and it would not adversely affect other processing timelines.
It is also stated that USCIS to implement Premium processing service for Form I-539 requests for change of status or extension of stay in nonimmigrant dependent categories, as well as Form I-765 Requests for Employment Authorization, is not yet available. However, the USCIS previously stated that not all of the additional benefits would be available until 2025.
Over the following three years, the agency plans to expand to new form types. Based on the stated aims of USCIS, the next extension of premium processing will most likely include Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
What To Do Next?
Employers and foreign nationals should begin identifying pending cases in the concerned case categories for which premium processing will be accessible in August and determining whether premium processing should be sought when the case type becomes eligible.
Forms I-539 and I-765 for certain F, M, and J nonimmigrants will likely be added to the next phase of the premium processing upgrade.