USCIS Plans Premium Processing Expansion Over Following Years

The USCIS published a new rule in the Federal Register. The “Implementation of the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act” was published on March 30, 2022. This new rule will make the USCIS’s premium processing service available to new two new categories of immigration filings that have been having issues with excessive backlogs. This new service will be implemented in stages.

The first stage of the expansion will allow those petitioners filing Form I-140 green card petitions in two new categories, EB-1 Multinational Executive/Manager and EB-2 National Interest Waiver, to choose enhanced processing.

Those who choose this option will need to pay a fee of $2,500, which is the standard fee for premium processing. However, instead of the usual 15 days for premium processing, the USCIS will have 45 days to adjudicate the petitions.

Even with this increased processing time, the expansion of premium processing is expected to be appreciated by employees and their employers and be very popular. Learn More

The difference in processing time provided with premium processing will be significant since an I-140 petition currently can take as long as 15 months to be processed at the Nebraska Service Center and 48 months at the Texas Service Center. The premium service for the categories listed above should be available before October 1, 2022.

The second stage of the expansion is also expected to take place in FY 2022. During this period, USCIS will expand premium service to certain subcategories of applicants who file Form I-765 and Form I-539. The subcategories of Form I-539 Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, which will be eligible for 30-day premium processing for a $1,750 fee, including change of status to F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, or M-2.

Individuals filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization would also include F-1 students applying for employment authorization under Optional Practical Training as well as J-2 spouses, and minor children of J-1 Exchange Visitors. They will be eligible for 30 calendar day premium processing for a $1,500 fee.

The third stage of processing will take advantage of the funds acquired from the prior new premium filing options to hire and train additional staff to add premium processing for Form I-539 and Form I-765 categories. It will also upgrade its online filing system to allow for the acceptance of Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service.

The agency will also add additional categories during this stage, including Form I-539 change of status and Form I-539 extension of status for E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, and R-2 classifications. These expansions will also include certain subtypes of Form I-539 and Form I-765, both when filed online or on paper.

USCIS estimates that premium processing for these new categories will be open by FY 2025. USCIS also estimates that these new offerings will cost over $12 million annually but bring in over $700 million in annual revenues.

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