USCIS Expands Premium Processing To Certain I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions
USCIS EXPANDS PREMIUM PROCESSING TO CERTAIN I-140 IMMIGRANT VISA PETITIONS
Starting January 30, 2023, USCIS began accepting premium processing requests for I-140 Immigration Petitions under EB-1 and EB-2 classifications—specifically, for all pending and initial EB-1C Multinational Executive and Manager I-140 Petitions and EB-2 National Interest Waiver I-140 Petitions.
• In March 2022, USCIS announced its plan to incrementally expand premium processing service for certain immigration benefit requests in a phased approach—specifically, for certain requests filed on Forms I-539, I-765, and I-140.
• Up until this most recent announcement, USCIS was only accepting premium processing requests for EB-1C Multinational Executive and Manager and EB-2 NIW I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions received before a certain cut-off date. As of this writing, USCIS will now accept premium processing for all pending and initial I-140 Petitions filed under these classifications.
• Premium processing is requested by filing a Form I-907 and relevant filing fee with the USCIS service center processing the petition. Currently, the premium processing filing fee is $2,500 USD.
• The premium processing turnaround time for most immigration benefit requests – including nonimmigrant petitions filed on Form I-129 and EB-1A Extraordinary Ability, EB-1B Outstanding Researchers, and PERM-based I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions – has been and will continue to be 15 calendar days. Notably, the guaranteed premium processing turnaround time for EB-1C Multinational Executive and Manager and EB-2 NIW I-140 Petitions will be different: 45 calendar days for USCIS to respond.
• Under a proposed rule published by the agency on January 4, 2023, USCIS would revise its interpretation of the premium processing timeframe from calendar days to business days, which means (if the rule becomes final) the standard premium processing will increase from 2 weeks to 3 weeks, and the processing time for EB-1C Multinational Executive and Manager and EB-2 NIW I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions will become 45 business day processing time could take up to 9 weeks. This is still dramatically faster than standard processing times, but nonetheless an increase that companies and sponsored workers should keep in mind.
• USCIS said that, in light of this expansion of premium processing, discretionary expedite requests will no longer be available for classifications designated as eligible for premium processing (except in cases of qualifying non-profit petitioners).
As mentioned above, although a 45-day processing timeframe is longer than what has typically been guaranteed for other premium processing requests, the availability of premium processing service for initial EB-2 NIW I-140 Petitions could deliver other benefits beside just the faster procurement of a priority date, which will give beneficiaries a leg up in the annual permanent residency quota system and will help them secure permanent residence more quickly. In addition, if the beneficiary of an approved EB-2 NIW I-140 Petition is an H-1B nonimmigrant who was born in a country with historical immigrant visa backlogs (i.e., India or China), the H-1B nonimmigrant’s H-4 spouse could be eligible to apply for a highly coveted H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within merely a few months upon approval of the H-1B spouse’s EB-2 NIW I-140 Petition. H-4 spouses would thereby be able to more quickly enter the U.S. labor market (H-4 spouses are otherwise not authorized to work in the United States without securing their own work-permit sponsorship).