USCIS Premium Processing offers a way to expedite your application for an additional fee. In this blog, I'll explain premium processing for OPT EAD (I-765), Green Card (I-140), NIW, and Change of Status (I-539). I'll cover eligible categories for requesting premium processing, their fees, and processing times. Additionally, I-129 applications also qualify for premium processing.
Table of Contents: Premium Processing
USCIS Premium Processing
USCIS premium processing service promises that USCIS will take specific actions on your petition or application within a specific amount of time. The duration of the processing timeframe and fee are based on the classification or category requested, which I'll explain shortly.
It's important to understand that requesting premium processing doesn't guarantee that your case will be approved within the promised timeframe, but it will result in one of the following outcomes:
Issuance of an approval notice
Issuance of a denial notice
Receipt of a notice of intent to deny (NOID)
Request for evidence (RFE)
If USCIS issues a notice of intent to deny or a request for evidence, the premium processing timeframe will pause and will resume with a new timeframe once USCIS receives a response to the notice of intent to deny or the request for evidence. Once your case is approved or denied, the premium processing request is considered completed.
Now, let's discuss when you can request premium processing and when you cannot.
You may file your request for Premium Processing Service along with the applicable petition or application.
You may also file the request for Premium Processing Service after you have submitted the applicable petition or application, as long as USCIS has not made a final decision on it.
However, you cannot request Premium Processing Service for a petition or application that has been reopened after an initial decision has been made on it.
I-907 Premium Processing
Your next question might be, 'How can I request USCIS premium processing service?' Well, that's where Form I-907 comes into play. The purpose of Form I-907 is to apply for Premium Processing Service for eligible petitions or applications, and I'll provide detailed information on which applications qualify for premium processing shortly.
You can obtain the I-907 form for free by downloading it from the USCIS website; the latest version is available for download here.
If you don't have internet access, you can also request USCIS to mail a form to you. Additional information on this can be found here. Please note that the mailing service is available only within the US.
I-907 Processing Fee & Eligible Applications
You can request premium processing for the following applications using Form I-907. Please be aware that not all categories qualify, and there is an additional fee for requesting premium processing. The processing times and fees vary for each:
Form I-129: Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with a fee ranging from $1,500 to $2,500, and a processing time of 15 days.
Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with a fee of $2,500, and a processing time ranging from 15 to 45 days.
Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization (limited categories), with a processing fee of $1,500, and a processing time of 30 days.
Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (limited categories), with a processing fee of $1,750, and a processing time of 30 days.
You can also find specific details in the I-907 instructions, which I've provided a snippet of for your convenience.
Remember to check the USCIS website regularly for the latest updates, as USCIS rules are subject to change. You can refer to this link for the latest updates.
Premium Processing for I-765
Starting on March 6, 2023, USCIS began offering premium processing for I-765 for F-1 students. It's important to note that not all categories qualify for EAD premium processing. Form I-765, used for EAD (Employment Authorization Document) applications, supports premium processing only for (c)(3)(A), (c)(3)(B), and (c)(3)(C) categories. Premium processing time is 30 days with an additional fee of $1,500.
You have the option to apply for premium processing either online or by mail. My previous blog provides information on how to request this service online.
(c)(3)(A): F-1 student, pre-completion Optional Practical Training
(c)(3)(B): F-1 student, post-completion Optional Practical Training
(c)(3)(C): F-1 student, 24-month extension for STEM Optional Practical Training
Premium Processing for I-539
Now, a similar restriction applies to I-539 premium processing as well. Form I-539, which is used to file a change of status, can be requested for premium processing for applicants seeking to change to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant Status. Premium processing time is 30 days with an additional fee of $1,750.
Academic Students or Dependents of F-1
Vocational Students or Dependents of M-1
Exchange Visitors or Dependents of J-1
Premium Processing for I-140, Green Card, EB2 NIW
Premium processing service is available for the initial step of green card processing, specifically for I-140 under EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3. However, the second step, which involves the adjustment of status through I-485, does not qualify for premium processing.
The fee for premium processing of Form I-140 is $2,500, and it comes with a processing period of 15 calendar days for EB-1 (E11, E12), EB-2 (E21 non-NIW), or EB-3 (E31, E32, EW3) immigrant classification. These are the eligible categories:
E11: Aliens of extraordinary ability
E12: Outstanding professors and researchers
E21: Members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability (non-NIW)
E31: Skilled workers
EW3: Workers other than skilled workers and professionals
Premium processing is eligible starting Jan 30, 2023, for NIW categories. The fee for premium processing of Form I-140 is $2,500, and it comes with a processing period of 45 calendar days for EB-1 (E13) or EB-2 (E21 NIW) immigrant classification. These are the eligible categories:
E13: Multinational executives and managers
E21: Members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability (NIW)
FAQs on Premium Processing
When will H-4 premium processing start?
Form DS-160 is used to apply for an H-4 visa, and as of September 2023, there is no premium processing available for this application. Furthermore, USCIS has not provided a specific future date for this service. However, if you have filed your H-4 application along with the H-1B application using premium processing, your case can be processed in 15 days.
Additionally, H-4 EAD, also known as Form I-765, is not eligible for premium processing. But if you apply for H-4 EAD along with the primary applicant's H-1B application in premium processing, your case can be processed in 15 days under the Edakunni settlement. Read more.
How to request premium processing for I-485?
As of September 2023, there is no premium processing service available for I-485 applications. Form I-485 is a green card application used for the adjustment of status, and it's the final step in receiving a permanent resident card in the US.
Next: H4 EAD
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