Premium Processing

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USCIS offers 15 day expedited processing for a fee. H, E, L, O, P, R and TN temporary petitions are eligible and most employment based petitions, but not multinational managers and executives, nor national interest waivers.

 

Premium processing is a highly useful program for some petitioners.  For example, the H-1B portability regulations allow H-1B workers to change employers and begin working with the new employer when USCIS receives the new employer's H-1B petition and before it is approved.  This benefit makes premium processing unnecessary for most petitioners seeking an H-1B change of employer.

Premium processing becomes useful when an employee candidate must change status and cannot begin work until the petition is approved.  A student seeking change of status to H-1B and who faces the imminent expiration of her OPT work authorization card is one who would benefit from premium processing. It is also useful for new hires with questionable status.  Many H-1B workers are laid off and remain in the United States for a period of weeks or months looking for a job before they find new employment.  This is illegal and the correct way to repair that situation is for the foreign national to depart the United States and apply for a new visa abroad.  While inconvenient, it generally takes less than a month.

When a petitioner selects and pays for premium processing, USCIS guarantees it will issue either a decision or a request for evidence within 15 calendar days.  If USCIS issues a request for evidence, it has another 15 calendar days to issue a final decision after it receives your response.  Unfortunately, many practitioners believe some USCIS adjudicators issue requests for evidence to allow themselves more time to adjudicate cases.

An important added benefit of premium processing is that the petitioning company receives an e-mail address and phone number for access to an adjudications officer or information officer who can answer questions about the case.

Premium processing is available for the following types of cases:

I-129 Nonimmigrant Workers

I-129 Case Type

Classification

Availability Date*

Termination Date**

Treaty Trader

E-1

June 1, 2001

 

Treaty Investor

E-2

June 1, 2001

 

Alien in Specialty Occupation

H-1B

July 30, 2001

 

Temporary Worker performing nonagricultural services

H-2B

June 1, 2001

 

Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor

H-3

June 1, 2001

 

Intracompany Transferee, Executive or Manager Capacity

L-1A

June 1, 2001

 

Intracompany Transferee, Specialized Knowledge

L-1B

June 1, 2001

 

Intracompany Transferee blanket petition

LZ

(Blanket L-1)

June 1, 2001

 

Extraordinary ability

O-1

June 1, 2001

 

Alien providing essential support services for a principal O-1 alien

O-2

June 1, 2001

 

Internationally recognized athlete or entertainment group

P-1

June 1, 2001

 

Essential support services for the P-1 alien

P-1S

June 1, 2001

 

Artist or Entertainer under a Reciprocal Exchange Program

P-2

June 1, 2001

 

Essential support services for the principal P-2 alien

P-2S

June 1, 2001

 

Artist or Entertainer in a Culturally Unique Program

P-3

June 1, 2001

 

Essential support services for the P-3 alien

P-3S

June 1, 2001

 

International cultural exchange alien

Q-1

June 1, 2001

 

Alien in a Religious occupation

R-1

July 30, 2001, reinstated July 20, 2009***

 

NAFTA professional, Canada

TN-1

July 30, 2001

 

NAFTA professional, Mexico

TN-2

July 30, 2001

 

  * The availability date is the date that the classification was initially deemed eligible for Premium Processing Service.

** The termination date reflects the last day that USCIS accepted filings requesting that specific classification. If a date is entered in this column, that classification is currently ineligible for filing.

*** Premium Processing Service for nonimmigrant religious worker visa petitions was initially suspended on November 28, 2006. On July 20, 2009, USCIS resumed acceptance of Form I-907 for I-129 petitions seeking R-1 classification but only from those petitioners who have previously completed a successful on-site inspection at the location where the beneficiary will be employed.  See the Related Links section of this page for a USCIS Update and accompanying Questions and Answers on reinstitution of premium processing service for nonimmigrant religious worker visa classification.

I-140 Immigrant Petitions

Form I-140 Case Type

Classification

Availability Date*

Termination Date**

Aliens of extraordinary ability

EB-1

November 13, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Outstanding professors and researchers

EB-1

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Multinational executives and managers

EB-1

Not Yet Available

 

Advanced degree or exceptional ability not seeking NIW

EB-2

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking NIW

EB-2

Not Yet Available

 

Skilled workers***

EB-3

August 28, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Professionals***

EB-3

August 28, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Workers other than skilled workers and professionals

EB-3

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 2009****

 

Olender faced a situation in late 2010 where a USCIS adjudicator sent a request for evidence asking for proof of current employment and valid status for an H-1B worker who was outside of the United States.  We took the position that the request for evidence was illegitimate because we included adequate documentation showing the beneficiary's valid status up until he left the United States.  We were able to persuade USCIS management that the RFE asked for unnecessary evidence and USCIS refunded our client's filing fee, as shown in the copy of the check on this page.

On November 23, 2010 the filing fee for premium processing rose from $1,000 to $1,225.

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Call us at 408.797.0000

Call us at 408.797.0000

Call us for a consultation at 408.797.0000. We offer expert services and proven experience with complex issues that others can overlook.

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The Olender Pro Bono Project

We represent some clients who have compelling cases and little money at no charge. Sean received the Benito Juarez human rights award in 2008 and the ALRP Volunteer Award in 2012 for taking more than 10 pro bono cases in 12 months. We need volunteers. E-mail Debbie to volunteer.

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