Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Immigration & Compliance Law 
Premium processing expansion
More applications eligible, higher fees, longer processing times

On 9/30/2020, the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021 (HR 8337) was signed into law to continue to fund the Government through 12/11/2020. The Act included language permitting the USCIS to expand premium processing services to other application types. To date, premium processing has only been available for some I-140 petitions and nonimmigrant petitions filed using Form I-129 (H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, etc.)
 
The increased fees and expanded availability of premium processing will not take effect until USCIS is able to implement. Timing of implementation is unknown at this time. A public announcement is expected that would provide more details and a timeline for implementation.
 
Summary of proposed premium processing fees and times
 
Form
Application/Petition Type
Old Fee
New Fee
Processing Time
I-129
H-1B, L-1A & B, O-1, TN (in-country)
$1440
$2500
30 days
(Was 15)
I-539
Change of status to H-4, L-2, O-3, TD
Not sure if this would include extensions.
Not Avail
$1750
30 days
I-539
Change of status to F, J, M
Not Avail
$1750
30 days
I-765
EAD
Not Avail
$1750
30 days
I-140
EB1 Extraordinary Ability
EB1 Outstanding Researcher
EB2 Master's degree or equiv
EB3 Professional (Bachelor's degree) or skilled worker
$1440
$2500
30 days
(Was 15)
I-140
Multinational Manager (EB1C)
Not Avail
$2500
45 days
I-140
National Interest Waiver (EB2 NIW)
Not Avail
$2500
45 days

I am assuming that the processing times listed are calendar days, rather than business days, but we will need to wait for the final rule to be certain.

The bill would: 
  1. Immediately give USCIS access to premium processing funds to pay for operational expenses, which are otherwise reserved for infrastructure improvements.
  2. Authorize premium processing services to be available for:
    • Employment-based nonimmigrant petitions and associated applications for dependents;
    • Form I-140 petitions (EB1, EB2 & EB3);
    • Form I-539;
    • Form I-765; and
    • Any other immigration benefit type deemed appropriate by the USCIS. [We will need to wait for more clarification on what this will include.]
  3. Increase the premium processing fee for benefit requests that are already eligible for premium processing services from $1,440 to $2,500.
  4. Require rulemaking to set fees for expanded premium processing services, but it must be consistent with the following:
    • EB-1 petitions for Multinational Managers and Executives or EB-2 NIW petitions - fee is no greater than $2,500 and processing time is no greater than 45 days.
    • Change of status requests for F, J and M - fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
    • Change of status requests for dependents seeking E, H, L, O - fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
    • Form I-765 - fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
  5. Allow for a biennial adjustment of premium processing fees based on the Consumer Price Index without rulemaking.
  6. Clarify that the processing time clock does not begin until "all prerequisites for adjudication are received" by USCIS.
  7. Ensure that providing expanded premium processing services does not result in an increase in processing times for other benefit applications.
  8. Require a semi-annual congressional briefing and that within 180 days, USCIS will provide a 5- plan on establishing:
    • Electronic filing procedures for all applications and petitions;
    • Acceptance of electronic filing at all locations; and
    • Issuance of all correspondence and notices electronically.
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Sincerely,

 


Leila Freijy
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC