What is the Premium Processing Service?

As the name suggests, the Premium Processing Service allows a faster processing time after the H1 visa petition is received. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, formerly the INS) guarantee that it will process the visa petition within 15 days under this service. There is a $1,440 fee that your employer must pay to the USCIS for this service. Also, a separate phone number and e-mail address is provided for companies using the expedited processing to check on the status or ask questions.

Who can apply for H1B Premium Processing and how?

Only your employer or business can apply for this service. As an individual you cannot apply for the service.
Your employer must complete Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing) and pay the premium processing fee of $1,440. The fee should be paid by a separate check and under no circumstances be combined with the regular processing fee.
Dependent family members filing concurrently with the primary applicant for this service do not have to pay any additional fee. This means that if your spouse/children are on the dependent visa and you are filing a petition with the premium processing service, your employer does not have to pay $1,440 for them.

Where can my employer file for H1B Premium Processing?

The Form I-907 provides addresses of Service Centers. Your petition for premium processing should be filed at the appropriate Service Center. The 15-day processing period begins when the USCIS identifies your request for premium processing.

Will the USCIS waive the $1,440 fee under special circumstances?

No, the $1,440 fee is fixed and cannot be waived for any reason. However, if the USCIS is unable to complete the processing within 15 days, the entire fee will be refunded.

In addition to H1B petitions, which other petitions may request premium processing service?

Only Nonimmigrant Worker petitions may file for premium processing service, including the following petitions:

  • E1 Treaty Trader
  • E2 Treaty Investor
  • H1B Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations
  • H2A Agricultural Worker
  • H2B Temporary Worker
  • H3 Trainee
  • L1 Intra-company Transferees
  • O1 and O-2 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
  • P1, P2 and P3 Athletes and Entertainers
  • Q1 International Cultural Exchange Aliens
  • R1 Temporary Workers in Religious Occupations
  • TN NAFTA Professionals

Under which circumstances can the USCIS expedite the processing time of Form I-129, excluding the Premium Processing Service?

The USCIS allows for expedited processing under the following circumstances:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or individual
  • Extreme emergency
  • Humanitarian situation
  • Department of Defense or national interest situation
  • USCIS error

When does USCIS begin premium processing for H1B petitions?

Each year USCIS announces when it begins H1B premium processing. After USCIS begins filing cap-subject H1B petitions, it will begin premium processing for those petitions who have requested premium processing.