USCIS Further Expands Premium Processing for I-140 Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is extending its Premium Processing Service to three new types of employment-based immigrant petitions. As of September 25, 2006, premium processing – which allows U.S. employers to pay a $1,000 premium processing fee in exchange for processing within 15 calendar days – will be available for the following petition types: (1) first preference outstanding professors and researchers; (2) second preference members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, except National Interest Waiver cases; and (3) third preference workers not classifiable as skilled workers or professionals (also referred to as “other workers”).

_________________________________________________________

Beginning on Monday, September 25, 2006, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting requests for premium processing of three additional types of employment-based immigrant visa petitions (i.e., I-140 petitions).

New form types that will be accepted for premium processing will include:

(1) first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers;

(2) second preference (EB-2) members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, except those requesting National Interest Waivers; and

(3) third preference (EB-3) workers not classifiable as skilled workers or professionals (also referred to as “other workers”).  EB-3 petitions seeking classification of skilled workers or as professional workers have been eligible for premium processing since August 28, 2006. Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, is typically filed simultaneously with the underlying petition.   However, petitions not initially filed with the Premium Processing Service that remain pending can normally be upgraded.

The Premium Processing Service requires that employers pay a special $1,000 processing fee (in addition to the normal filing fee) in exchange for guaranteed processing of the I-140 petition within 15 calendar days of filing.   Within the 15 days, the USCIS is required to approve the case, issue a notice of intent to deny or request for evidence, or initiate an investigation.  If none of these actions is taken, the agency must refund the $1,000.