May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019

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USCIS Proposes Increase to Premium Processing Fee

On Aug. 31, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a final rule in the Federal Register to increase the premium processing fee for certain visa petitions to $1,410, effective Oct. 1, 2018. Premium processing, a service offered for certain petitions, requires U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate a petition (i.e., approve, deny, or send a request for evidence) within 15 calendar days. The increase to the current fee, which is $1,225, is based upon the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index-Urban Consumers index (14.92%) since the premium processing fee of $1,225 was introduced.

DHS rationale for increasing the fee is to garner additional funds to provide certain premium-processing services to business customers and to make infrastructure improvements in adjudications and customer service processes. DHS estimates the department will receive an additional $44 million in revenue due to the increased fee. Recently, USCIS established a habit of suspending premium processing for certain petitions as it continually tries to reduce its backlog of petitions.

On or after Oct. 1, 2018, all premium processing requests must include the new fee. At this time, because of the previously discussed suspension of premium processing, most H-1B petitions are not eligible for premium processing. Only cap-exempt H-1B petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” with a concurrent request to notify a consular office abroad or extend the stay of a beneficiary are currently eligible for premium processing. Premium processing remains available for other petitions, such as L-1 or I-140 petitions.

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About this Author

Dillon Colucci, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Los Angeles, Immigration Law Attorney
Associate

Dillon R. Colucci practices and handles U.S. immigration concerns and helps individuals, families, professionals, skilled workers, investors, and businesses live, work, invest and do business in the United States. Dillon works extensively on EB-5 immigrant investor matters. He regularly works with developers across a variety of industries, as well as private equity funds on developing new projects that qualify for EB-5 investments. This includes the creation of new Regional Centers, having projects adopted by existing Regional Centers or through pooled individual EB-5...

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