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.
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