Who is Eligible for Premium Processing?
Filing for any visa can be a time-consuming, complicated process. Even if you fill out your forms completely and file them timely, waiting for an officer of USCIS to open and investigate your application often takes weeks or longer, depending on the caseload of your visa category at the processing center you’ve been assigned.
Paying the additional fee, which ranges between $1500 and $2500, ensures that your application goes to the top of the stack. The expediting processing must be completed within a set time frame. This deadline varies by the immigrant classification but is between 15 and 45 days. You’re not guaranteed approval with premium processing. However, you’ll know the results of your petition and how to move forward to solve any issues, if possible.
Filing for premium processing requires completing Form I-907. This can be done when you file your initial paperwork or push a pending application to faster adjudication by filing with the receipt notice you received when you initially submitted the petition or application.
Historically, premium processing has only been available to limited categories of petitions. Recent changes in regulations increased the availability to include any classification that uses Form I-140, the majority of classifications that use Form I-129, and some F-1 students who file Form I-539 or Form I-765. In June, USCIS’ announcement added more classifications to this list, permitting premium processing for change of status seekers in specific categories.
The Newest Addition to the Premium Processing Selection
The latest announcement on June 13, 2023, is one more step in USCIS’ goal to expand access to expedited processing to all filers. Now, if you’re looking to change your status to an F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2, you can pay the extra fee to add premium processing to your petition or application.
Before you spend the $2500 to do this, you should know that this fee only puts you on the premium processing track. It doesn’t mean your petition will be approved. The expedited processing means that USCIS has a specified number of days in which to review your petition, then submit an approval notice, denial notice, request for evidence (RFE), or notice of intent to deny to you.
Should you receive an RFE or a notice of intent to deny, you have the window of time given to you in which to submit a response. Once submitted, your premium processing time resets, giving USCIS the full amount of time to take further action on your petition.
Although USCIS’ goals of continually expanding the premium processing capabilities to give more people access to this expedited adjudication, the current backlog remains extremely long for millions of foreign nationals. If you’ve been waiting for your turn and want to know what other options you have that could move you further ahead, such as premium processing or a different visa category, contact our experts at Visa2US.
Our legal immigration professionals are ready to guide your steps as you file for an H-1B visa or build a case to skip the Labor Conditon Approval and job offers and go straight for a National Interest Waiver. Contact us any time, 24/7/365, to discuss your situation and determine your next action.