USCIS Premium Processing

USCIS Premium Processing of Non-immigrant employment petitions

Time is money. Nowhere is this truer than in the competitive world of business. Beginning in 2001 USCIS began premium processing of certain employment petitions and applications. Congress approved premium processing to mitigate the effects that serious delays in processing of employment petitions and applications were having on U.S. employers and foreign employees. Those who file using premium processing do not just get faster adjudications but better customer service by way of more access to communicate with service center adjudicators by phone, fax and email about their applications and petitions in ways that are not available to those who file without premium processing.

Immigration Lawyer Las Vegas | USCIS premium processing

How long does USCIS premium processing take?

Premium processing of employment petitions and applications must be requested by the petitioner (not beneficiary) with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service and the premium processing filing fee (currently $1225). E-filing also exists for form I-907. USCIS guarantees to action within 15 calendar days of receipt of a request for premium processing. However if USCIS needs further evidence or issues a notice of intent to deny then 15 calendar days is measured from the date of receipt of the response.

What non-immigrant employment classifications are eligible?

Whether you can request premium processing will depend on the type of classification being sought. H-1b premium processing is common but expedited processing is available for several employment petitions even including I-140 immigrant petitions which are not discussed here. Currently, the premium processing service is only available to the following categories of nonimmigrants whose employers file for them using Form I-129:

1. E-1 treaty trader;


2. E-2 treaty investor;


3. H-1B premium processing of petitions for alien in a specialty occupation;


4. H-2B Temporary Worker performing nonagricultural services;


5. H-3 Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor;


6. L-1 intra-company transferee (executive and managerial capacity and specialized knowledge professional) and LZ blanket L-1 petition;


7. O-1 and O-2 aliens of extraordinary ability or achievement;


8. P-1, P-2, and P-3 athletes and entertainers; and


9. Q-1 international cultural exchange aliens.


10. R-1 religious worker (available only after site inspection); and


11. TN NAFTA professional.


Can I request premium processing after a petition is filed?

Yes. Premium processing can be requested by including the request with the application to be expedited.  Expedited processing however may also be requested after submission of the application. The Form I-797 receipt notice should accompany the I-907, Request for premium processing.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney Las Vegas (702) 423-271


H1B Filing and Visa Waiver Entry

H1b filing

If you are a US employer intending to employ a foreign specialty worker such as an engineer temporarily, H-1B visas may be the way to go. Under the H-1B program companies in the United States can temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. An occupation will qualify if it requires the theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the specific specialty.

In the first step in the H1B visa process, your company files a Labor Condition Application, LCA with the Department of Labor. If the Labor Department approves the application, you can then submit an h1b petition on form I-129 for the foreign worker1. It is important to note that there is a total cap of 85,000 on the number of new H-1B petitions that the USCIS can approve each year. The cap is made up of the regular cap of 65000 and 20,00 for those with a Master’s Degree from a United States University.

I-797 Approval Notice

When the h1b petition is approved United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mail an original I-797 Receipt to the applicant or petitioner’s attorney. The form will indicate that the USCIS has approved the employer’s petition to have the alien apply for classification in h1b status.

H1B endorsement on I-94 Record

If the applicant is from a visa waiver program country the applicant will present the original form I-797 at the U.S. port of entry and does not have to make a h1b visa application at a US consular office2. Upon inspection and admission to the United States a DHS inspector will issue the applicant an I-94 indicating that the employee has been admitted in h1b status for the duration of the approved petition.

Passport validity

It is important to have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the duration of the petition otherwise the CBP inspector may issue an I-94 until the expiration date of the passport if it falls before the expiration of the petition.


If you are interested in working in the United States, we can help. Contact our H1b visa lawyer for a confidential consultation. Call 702-423-2721 for a speedy evaluation of your h1b or other US work visa options.


  1. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b);  8 USCS § 1182 (n)(1).
  2. 8 CFR 212.1(i).
  3. 8 U.S.C. 1182 (a)(7)(B) (i).
  4. Legacy INS Operations Instruction (OI) 214.2(h)(9).

Employment green cards

Employment green cards for highly qualified applicants

If you are highly skilled or have capital to invest you may qualify to get a work visa or an investor visa that will allow you to make money in the United States for as long as you wish. Green cards are issued to up to 140,000 employment based immigrants annually to work in green card jobs. These jobs are in areas where there is a shortage of trained U.S. workers to meet the needs of U.S. employers. Some people may also be able to get employment based green cards without job offers or employers to petition for green cards for them.

The Green Card

What is your employment green card preference?

Employment based green cards are issued based upon a preference system. The preference system matter a lot because waiting times for a green card vary. The system is divided into 5 groups.

  • EB1 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers (plus any left over from the EB4 and EB5 preferences) to “priority workers,” consisting of aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain transferring multinational executives and managers. An offer of employment may not be required.
  • EB2 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers the same numerical allocation, (plus any overage from the EB 1st preference) to members of the professions who hold advanced degrees or their equivalent and for aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
  • EB3 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers (plus any left over from the first and second EB preference) to skilled workers, professionals, and other workers (those needing less than two years of experience) for non-temporary, non-seasonal work.
  • EB4 preference – allots up to approximately 10,000 immigrant visa numbers to “special immigrants,” including ministers of religion.
  • EB5 preference – allots up to approximately 10,000 immigrant visa numbers for certain investors of defined amounts in a “commercial enterprise” that creates at least ten full-time jobs, subject to certain conditions designed to discourage fraud.


Immigrants in Eb2 and Eb3 preference generally must receive labor certification. Employment based immigration petitions are generally filed with USCIS on Form I-140. Though a potential employer may file for you, you may act as your own petitioner if you are an immigrant of extraordinary ability in the Eb1 preference, a second-preference beneficiary who is exempted from the requirement of a job offer (and labor certification), certain fourth preference immigrant or a fifth preference investor.