Premium Processing (Faster for a Fee)
USCIS has an option to process certain petitions faster. It is called Premium Processing. How it works is that for an additional $1,225 fee to USCIS, USCIS promises a response to the case within 15 days of filing. Additionally, if there is a request from USCIS for more information, the request can be made and responded to by e-mail and/or fax, and a decision is made by USCIS within 15 days of the response, so that process is much quicker as well.
One has the ability to file a new case with a request for Premium Processing, but one can also submit a request (and the fee) to transfer a case from the regular queue to the Premium Processing queue. If the latter option is chosen, a response is promised within 15 days from the receipt of the transfer request.
Premium Processing is available in the following nonimmigrant categories:
- E-1 Treaty Trader
- E-2 Treaty Investor
- H-1B Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations
- H-2A Agricultural Worker
- H-3 Trainee
- L-1 Intra-company Transferees
- O-1 and O-2 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
- P-1, P-2 and P-3 Athletes and Entertainers
- Q-1 International Cultural Exchange Aliens
- R-1 Temporary Workers in Religious Occupations
- TN NAFTA Professionals
Starting on June 29, 2009, USCIS also began accepting Premium Processing requests for most Immigrant Petition (I-140) categories:
- First employment-based preference category (EB-1): I-140 Petitions are eligible for Premium Processing except Multinational Managers and Executives.
- Second employment-based preference category (EB-2): I-140 Petitions are eligible for Premium Processing except National Interest Waivers.
- Third employment-based preference category (EB-3): All I-140 Petitions are eligible for Premium Processing.