How To Get A Faster Immigration Decision? What is Premium Processing?

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Many times application filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) take months to reach a decision. This can be costly and stressful for applicants. As such, USCIS has provided a process for expediting some employment-based petitions and applications (Forms I-129 or I-140). The filing fee for a request for premium processing is $1,225. The filling fee cannot be waived.

The Premium Processing program guarantees USCIS will process the submitted case within 15 calendar days or the additional filing fee paid for the premium processing will be returned.

The 15 day calendar time begins when USCIS receives Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) at the proper filing mailing address. USCIS will then give an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for more evidence (RFE) or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within 15 calendar day period.

Additional benefits of premium processing include a specially designated phone number (1-866-315-5718), as well as email communications with the Service Center. In addition USCIS will try to provide faster processing of Form I-539 applications filed by dependents of the principle beneficiary (though the processing guarantee does not apply to this application).

The following Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) designations allow premium processing:
  1. Treaty trader (E-1)
  2.  Treaty investor (E-2)
  3. Alien in specialty occupation (H-1B). Note: Suspended temporarily for most non-cap exempt cases (08/02/2017)
  4. Temporary worker performing nonagricultural services (H-2B)
  5. Trainee or special education exchange visitor (H-3)
  6. Intracompany transferee, executive or manager capacity (L-1A)
  7. Intracompany transferee, specialized knowledge professional (L-1B)
  8. Blanket L-1
  9. Alien of extraordinary ability or achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1)
  10. Alien providing essential support services for a principal O-1 alien (O-2)
  11. Internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group (P-1)
  12. Essential support alien, highly skilled, who performs support services essential to the successful performance of the principal P-1 alien (P-1S)
  13. Artist or entertainer under a reciprocal exchange program (P-2)
  14. Essential support alien, highly skilled, who performs support services essential to the successful performance of the principal P-2 alien (P-2S)
  15. Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program (P-3)
  16. Essential support alien, highly skilled, who performs support services essential to the successful performance of the principal P-3 alien (P-3S)
  17. International cultural exchange alien (Q-1)
  18. Alien in a religious occupation (R-1)
  19. NAFTA professional, Canada (TN-1)
  20. NAFTA professional, Mexico (TN-2)
The following Form I-140 (Petition for Immigrant Worker) designations allow premium processing:
  1. Aliens of extraordinary ability (EB-1a)
  2. Outstanding professors and researchers (EB-1b)
  3. Members of professions with advanced degrees (EB-2a)
  4. Members of professions with exceptional ability (EB-2b)
  5. Skilled workers (EB-3)
  6. Professionals (EB-3)
  7. Workers other than skilled workers and professionals (EB-3) 
The following designations DO NOT have premium processing available:
  1. Multinational executives and managers (EB-1c)
  2. National Interest Waiver (NIV – EB-2c)
  3. Immigrant Investors (EB-5)
  4. Treaty Speciality Occupations (H-1B1)
  5. Australian Speciality Occupations (E-3)
Note: The Beneficiary of a visa petition cannot apply for Premium Processing unless they are filing in one of the self-petition categories (such as EB-1a). The petitioner or beneficiary may pay the Premium Processing Service fee, but the beneficiary cannot sign or file the Form I-907.

Note: To increase adjudication speed, you may include a pre-paid self addressed envelope with the application to be used to return the results of application faster.

Note that premium processing mailing addresses can be different from the regular processing centers. For mailing addresses for Form I-129 please see: please see the following for Form I-140:

Note: Form I-907 does not give special H-Visa cap benefits to the petitioner.

Note: Premium Processing is currently stopped for Form I-129 filings that request a change or an initial grant of status for beneficiaries within the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
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