August 18, 2022

Volume XII, Number 230

Advertisement
Advertisement

August 18, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

August 17, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

August 16, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

USCIS Final Rule Expands Premium Processing For Certain Backlogged Cases

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) experienced significant delays in processing work permits. Certain applications have been pending for an extended period awaiting adjudication; before the pandemic, work permits (Form I-765) were issued within three to six months of filing and now processing times are ranging from eight to 12 months. 

In an effort to reduce backlogs and provide relief to certain work permit holders, on March 29 the USCIS issued a final rule expanding the premium processing service to additional categories. The rule can be effective no earlier than May 31, 2022, and additional implementations will be in a phased manner.

By paying the current fee of $2,500, the USCIS guarantees a response within 15 calendar days. Premium processing is an expedited service that is available for certain employment-based petitions, including temporary workers (Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and certain employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). 

The final rule expands the categories for premium processing to include Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and additional classifications under Form I-140. The USCIS also intends to begin implementing, through a phased approach, premium processing availability of Form I-539, Form I-765 and Form I-140 in fiscal year 2022. 

Processing Fees and Timeframes

The final rule sets the premium processing fees and timeframes as follows:

  • Form I-140 requesting EB-1 immigrant classification as a multinational executive or manager or EB-2 immigrant classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW). Fee: $2,500. Timeframe: 45 business days. 

  • Form I-539 requesting a change of status to F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, or M-2 nonimmigrant status or a change of status to or extension of stay in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, or R-2 nonimmigrant status. Fee: $1,750. Timeframe: 30 business days.

  • Form I-765 requesting employment authorization. Fee: $1,500. Timeframe: 30 business days. 

Of note, the rule that provides the USCIS with authorization to expand premium processing directs the agency to ensure that regular (non-premium) processing times for these case types are not adversely affected by the expansion of premium processing. The aim is to keep premium processing from becoming the default choice and the USCIS from directing all of its resources to premium processing at the expense of regular processing. 

The USCIS announcement regarding the expansion of premium processing also established new “cycle time” goals for common case types, including work authorization requests that are more reasonable. These cycle processing timelines remain future objectives and not a reflection of current processing times.

What Should You Do?

The hope is that the USCIS expeditiously announces the implementation of this phased approach. In the interim, employers and individuals should monitor their pending cases and prepare for upgrades once the premium processing service becomes available. 

© 2022 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 91
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Tejas Shah Immigration Lawyer Barnes & Thornburg Chicago
Partner

Tejas Shah has the ability to take the complex and confusing nature of immigration law and simplify it for his clients. His goal is to not only help them comply with the multifaceted requirements of U.S. immigration law, but also to ensure that as clients source global talent, they thrive in environments that can be hostile to migration.

As employers increasingly seek to hire and retain talented foreign national employees to maximize competitiveness, Tejas is empathetic to their needs and offers practical immigration law advice. He is committed to guiding employers of all sizes –...

312-214-5619
Partner

Sarah Hawk’s strategic mind and extensive understanding of current and emerging immigration legislation and trends have earned her national and international recognition. Sarah provides crucial immigration counsel to domestic and multinational companies in various industries such as healthcare, financial services, hospitality, higher education, and technology, among others.

Sarah brings nearly 20 years of experience helping companies develop and implement immigration policies to secure visas and permanent residence status for executives, managers and critical employees. She also...

404-264-4030
Michael Durham Immigration Attorney Barnes & Thornburg
Partner

Michael Durham has been practicing immigration law exclusively for the past 17 years. Michael’s focused experience allows him to guide his clients through the complex and constantly changing labyrinth of immigration laws and regulations.

Michael’s knowledge and understanding of immigration laws and critical insight into the immigration process qualifies him to represent businesses, employers and individuals alike with a wide range of immigration-related needs and services.

He assists employers, including hospitals, colleges and universities, technology companies, religious...

574-237-1145
Mercedes Badia-Tavas Immigration Attorney
Partner

Mercedes Badia-Tavas provides legal and business guidance to clients on a broad range of immigration law cases, with focus on Fortune 500 and small companies alike. Mercedes supports her firm’s offices and clients across various states on immigration employment transfers and up-to-date compliance.

As an immigrant herself, Mercedes finds particular fulfillment in helping companies and individuals immigrate to the United States and participate in the American dream through startups and business transactions that also can benefit the U.S. economy.

Mercedes attributes much of her...

312-214-8313
Mandira Sethi Atlanta Georgia Staff Attorney Immigration Global International Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Staff Attorney

Mandira Sethi has over a decade of immigration experience as a paralegal-turned-attorney working on an extensive range of immigrant visa and nonimmigrant petitions. As an immigrant from India, Mandira has deep-rooted passion for assisting individuals, businesses, and organizations with successfully navigating the immigration process.

Having spent a number of years as a business immigration specialist and paralegal, Mandira prepares documentation and files nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions for Fortune 500 companies and other businesses....

404-264-4011
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement