USCIS Announces New Premium Processing Services and Fees to Begin June 1, 2022
New U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) premium processing rules, announced on March 29, 2022, go into effect on May 31, 2022; and start rolling out on June 1. The Implementation of the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2022, as a measure by USCIS to address the long wait times and backlogs faced by immigration applicants, as well as to increase revenues to cover the rising cost of immigration services. USCIS is rolling out the expansion of premium processing in stages through 2025.
USCIS data shows approximately 2 million people apply for new or renewed work permits each year, and the process typically takes five to seven months. USCIS estimates that the new premium processing services will cost the agency more than $12 million per year to upgrade staffing and training, but will increase annual revenues by more than $700 million.
The new rule also directs the agency to ensure that regular (non-premium) processing times are not adversely affected by the expansion of premium processing.
What Is Premium Processing?
Premium processing is an optional service that provides expedited processing for certain immigration applications for a fee in addition to the standard processing fee. Premium processing can be requested by filing USICS Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service and paying the required premium processing fee.
Note: When filing form I-907, effective May 31, 2022, USCIS “will not accept a single, combined fee payment when an applicant or petitioner files Form I-907 with another form. The Form I-907 fee must be paid separately from other filing fees.”
Premium processing is currently only available for H-1 work permit applications and some employment-based green cards. By paying the current premium processing fee of $2,500, the USCIS guarantees a response within 15 calendar days.
USCIS announced an initial premium processing roll-out schedule:
- On June 1, 2022, USCIS will begin to phase in premium processing upgrades for certain previously filed Form I-140 petitions requesting E21 national interest waiver (NIW) classification and additional Form I-140 petitions requesting E13 multinational executive and manager classification.
USCIS announced on May 24, 2022, that it will begin implementation with a limited, conditional expansion of premium processing for the following already-filed Forms I-140, to upgrade them to premium processing:
- Beginning June 1, 2022, we will accept Form I-907 requests for E13 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before Jan. 1, 2021.
- Beginning July 1, 2022, we will accept Form I-907 requests for E21 NIW petitions received on or before June 1, 2021, and E13 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before March 1, 2021.
- As the expansion of premium processing is being implemented in a phased approach, we will continue working towards premium processing availability of additional Form I-140 petitions, Form I-539 and Form I-765 in fiscal year 2022. USCIS will also adhere to the congressional requirement that the expansion of premium processing must not cause an increase in processing times for regular immigration benefit requests.
What New Services Have Premium Process Available?
Employment-Based Green Card Applications
Form I-140 applicants can pay a premium processing fee of $2,500 to have their cases reviewed within 45 days.
Premium processing will also be available during the current USCIS fiscal year, 2022, for the following (roll out dates have not been announced yet):
Temporary Immigration Status Extension Requests
- Change of status to F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, or M-2
- Change of status or extension of stay in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, or R-2 nonimmigrant status.
Form I-539 applications will be reviewed within 30 days for a $1750 premium processing fee.
Work Permit Petitions F-1 students applying for employment authorization under Optional Practical Training
New I-765 applications will be reviewed within 30 days for a $1500 premium processing fee
The final stages of the premium processing expansion are planned to roll out during Fiscal Year 2025, starting in October 1, 2024:
- Form I-539 change of status for the dependent classifications: E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, and R-2
- Form I-539 extension of status in the classifications: E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, and R-2
- Subtypes of Form I-765 and Form I-539 filed online and on paper
What Should Employers and Individuals Do?
As USCIS announces more details of the premium processing rollout, individuals and employers should consult their business immigration attorneys for the latest information and updates available to expedite their application.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Garvish Immigration Law Group monitor the latest immigration laws and rules to provide clients in Georgia and throughout the United States with skilled, effective solutions to challenging global workforce issues. Schedule a confidential consultation with us today at 1.800.951.4980 or contact our Atlanta employment-based immigration lawyers online.
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