Understanding Immigration Services Premium Processing
On March 29, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of their Premium Processing (PP) service. This would allow some people the option to speed up their immigration applications.
In an effort to reduce backlogs, USCIS is expanding the availability of their Premium Processing (PP) service. In some cases, they are also lengthening the automatic extension of work permits. USCIS expects this change to speed up the application process, and eliminate Covid-19 created work backlogs.
How Can I Use Premium Processing To Speed Up My Immigration Case?
File Form I-907 with your qualifying immigration application (additional filing fees apply). Once filed, you will receive a notification from USCIS within 15 calendar days.
Does PP Guarantee Approval of an Application or Petition?
No. Premium Processing only speeds up the process. The applicant or petitioner will receive a notification from USCIS within 15 calendar days. This notification can contain a request for additional evidence, or approval/denial of the petition.
Who Could Premium Process Applications Before?
Up until now, only applicants for certain types of work visa petitions ( E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L, O, P, Q, or TN) could request Premium Processing. Use Form I-129 to file visa petitions.
Premium Processing was also available for some employment-based green card petitions: EB-11, EB-12, EB-2 (except National Interest Waiver) and EB-3. Use Form I-140 to file these petitions.
Who Can Utilize Immigration Services Premium Process Applications Now?
Starting June 1st, 2022, USCIS announced Premium Processing will be available to a limited number of additional application types.
USCIS will accept I-907 Premium Processing requests for EB-13 multinational manager/executive petitions received on or before January 1, 2021. They not accept PP requests for petitions received after that date until further notice.
As of July 1st, 2022, USCIS will accept Premium Processing requests for E-21 National Interest Waiver petitions received on or before June 1, 2021. Additionally, they will begin accepting PP requests for EB-13 multinational manager/executive petitions received on or before March 1, 2021.
The new PP timeframe for EB-13 and EB-21 petitions is 45 days, rather than the original 15 day Premium Processing timeframe.
Will Immigration Services Premium Processing Be Available for Any Other Applications?
USCIS anticipates introducing PP requests for Form I-539 applications requesting to change status to F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 and M-2 later in FY2022.
They also indicated they would prioritize Premium Processing for students submitting I-765 OPT EAD employment authorization applications in FY2022.
Unfortunately, USCIS does not anticipate accepting PP requests until FY2025 for:
- E-1 applicants
- E-2 applicants
- E-3 applicants
- L-2 applicants
- H-4 applicants
- O-3 applicants
- P-4 applicants
- R-2 applicants
Similarly, other type of I-765 applicants (who are not students applying for OPT EAD) may also have to wait until FY2025 to utilize Premium Processing.
The new PP timeframe for I-539 and I-765 applications will be 30 days.
At a later time, PP may be available for additional classifications under Form I-140.
Unfortunately, Premium Processing is not available for:
- family-based petitions
- Violence Against Women Act petitions
- other humanitarian applications
- Advance Parole Travel documents
USCIS has not announced when or if they will make these applications available in the future.
What Are the New Changes to Immigration Services Premium Processing?
Here is a chart summarizing the Implementation of the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act.
|Form Number||Description of Eligible Applications||Fee||Timeframe||Effective Date|
|I-140||EB-1 – Multinational Executive or Manager (EB-13)||$2,500||45 days|
June 1, 2022
(for EB-13 petitions received on or before January 1, 2021)
July 1, 2022
(for EB-13 petitions received on or before March 1, 2021)
EB-2 – Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability Seeking a National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW)
|$2,500||45 days||July 1, 2022 |
(for EB-2 NIW
on or before
June 1, 2021)
Change of Status Request to: F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, or M-2
Change of Status to or Extension of Stay in: E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, or R-2
Request for Employment Authorization for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Request for Employment Authorization – other categories
Will These Changes Mean Longer Processing Times for Other Applications?
USCIS states it will comply with congressional requirements regarding processing times. Despite expanding PP, there will not be an increase in processing times for other applications.
As a safe guard, USCIS has full discretion to pause or terminate Premium Processing eligibility for certain applications (if it begins to negatively impact regular processing).
Can I Speed Up My Case Without Premium Processing?
Maybe. You can request expedited processing based on USCIS’s published guidelines.
Why Would I Premium Process Rather Than Expedite?
Additional fees are required for Premium Processing. As a result, you might be tempted to ask UCSIS to expedite your case instead.
However, USCIS has complete and total discretion regarding expedite requests. They can say no, and often do.
In contrast, PP requires a response within 15 days.
Over the last two years, USCIS has seen an increase in expedite requests. Additionally, processing times are slower due to Covid-19 related closures. As a result, some situations may not be considered serious or urgent enough for expedited treatment.
How Long Will My Application Take?
USCIS publishes processing times on their website. Processing times indicate how long it may take from the application filing date to a decision. This is known as the “cycle time”.
Additionally, USCIS announced a new cycle time goal of no more than 6 months for various applications. We are encouraged to see USCIS working towards faster processing times. However, as of right now, this is only a goal USCIS is aiming to achieve.
What If My Immigration Case is Taking Too long?
If you think there is a problem with your case, speak with an experienced immigration attorney. As your partner in immigration, Quan Law Group is ready to help you.