To ease the burdens on the immigration system and increase its efficiency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to implement new actions that help reduce processing backlogs, improve access to employment authorization forms, and expand premium processing eligibility. In a press release, USCIS shared how each of these new efforts will support their goal “to reduce these caseloads and processing times, while also ensuring that fair and efficient services are available to applicants and petitioners.”
In this article, we will discuss the premium processing updates in further detail. To learn more about the other new actions, you can review the USCIS announcement.
What Is Premium Processing?
Premium processing is an expedited adjudication service that allows eligible petitioners to benefit from having their applications processed within a set number of calendar days. With premium processing, applicants are guaranteed processing within 15 calendar days; if your processing time exceeds the 15-day limit, applicants can receive a refund of the premium processing service fee and will still have their application expedited.
The 15-day period begins when a petitioner’s Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Services is received by the proper agency. Petitioners will receive a notice of approval, denial, or intent to deny or a request for additional evidence. If a response or evidence is required, a new 15-day period will begin once the response is received.
Expanding Premium Processing
Previously, only petitioners filing a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and select employment-based visa petitioners filing a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers were eligible for premium processing. Because of the new USCIS changes, eligibility for premium processing has expanded. In phases, USCIS plans to make premium processing available for the following categories of forms:
- Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigration Status
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Additional classifications under Form I-140
It is important to note that premium processing concerning approved Form I-140 classifications cannot involve any of the following factors.
- Labor certification substantiation requests
- Another Form I-140 petition if another Form I-140 petition is pending
- Duplicate labor certification requests
How to File a Request for Premium Processing
Petitioners must complete and submit a signed Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Services. The filing process will depend on whether or not you have submitted your other documents. If you have already filed Form I-129 or 1-140, you must file Form I-907 with the service center that is currently processing your case; you will also need to submit:
- A copy of Form I-797
- A receipt of notice for your Form I-129 or I-140
- (if applicable) A transfer notice showing that your petition was transferred to another service center
If you plan to submit a premium processing request with Form I-129 or I-140, you should follow the instructions outlined on the form.
If you have any questions about these updates, your eligibility for premium processing, or need help with an immigration-related legal matter, we are here to help. At Guerra Sáenz, PL, our attorneys have handled over 1,000 cases and have over 15 years of legal experience; we are also immigrants ourselves, and we have a personal understanding of what it’s like to fight to stay in this country.
We can help clients with cases involving:
- Criminal immigration matters
- Deportation defense
- Employment-based immigration
- Family-based immigration
- Green cards
- Treaty visas
- Visas for athletes
- Visas for investors
- Visas for physicians
- Visas for professionals
To discuss your case with a member of our team, call (888) 900-1748 or contact us online. Our immigration attorneys are uniquely equipped to help you navigate the frustrating and complex immigration system.