This article discusses the new USCIS rule to expand premium processing for certain immigration benefits.
On March 30, 2022, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new final rule that orders its subordinated agency, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expand premium processing service for certain immigration benefits requests. The new rule takes effect starting on May 31, 2022.
What does USCIS Premium Processing mean?
Premium processing allows applicants for certain immigration benefits to request expedited processing of their petition if they pay an additional fee in addition to the standard filing fees. It is important to understand that paying for premium processing does not improve or decrease the chance of a successful petition.
The premium processing fee is $2,500 for most nonimmigrant worker petitions (work visas and investor visas) and immigrant petitions for the alien worker (green card through employment).
The only exceptions are temporary agricultural and nonagricultural workers as well as religious workers’ petitions for which the premium processing fee is $1,500.
The new rule expands premium processing to additional immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions including:
- Green card petitions for multinational executives and managers – EB-1C green card. The premium processing fee will be $2,500 and the petition is to be processed within 45 days.
- Green card petitions for workers with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities where the requirement for the US sponsoring employer is waived based on US national interest – EB-2 NIW. The premium processing fee for this category will be $2,500 and the petition is to be processed within 45 days.
- Applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status. At first, this will include applications to change and/or extend the status for academic students (F-1), exchange visitors (J-1), and vocational students (M-1) and their dependents. At a later time, premium processing will expand for changes or extensions of status for dependents and children of holders of various treaty investor status, treaty trader status, extraordinary ability and multinational executives or managers transferees status. The premium processing fee will be $1,750 and the application is to be processed within 30 days.
- Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon graduation as well as for exchange visitors and their dependents. At a later date, premium processing for EADs will be expanded to additional yet unspecified categories. The premium processing fee for EADs will be $1,500 and will be processed within 30 days.
In terms of implementation, DHS plans to implement the premium processing expansion for the green card petitions for multinational managers or executives and workers with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities with a national interest waiver by the end of September 30, 2022.
The premium processing for applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status and employment authorization applications for students and exchange visitors will also be implemented by September 30, 2022.
DHS estimates that it will not be able to expand premium processing to the additional categories of applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status for dependents and children of holders of E2, E1, L1, O1 or another status as well as applications for employment authorization until September 30, 2025. This is because of the possibility that premium processing revenues will not be yet sufficient to cover any potential costs associated with expanding premium processing to these additional categories.
For more information about the new USCIS rule to expand premium processing for various immigration benefits or to speak to our immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA about your visa options or doing business in the US contact us now or schedule an appointment.
Malescu Law P.A. – Immigration Lawyers