I-140 Premium Processing
For an additional fee of $1,000, USCIS will process I-140 within 15 calendar days of receipt. A USCIS officer will review the application and determine the appropriate action which, in many cases, would be an approval. Alternatively, an officer could issue a Request for Further Evidence (RFE), a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), a denial or a notice of fraud investigation. If the case of RFE, USCIS will make a decision within 15 days of receipt of the response.

While many people would benefit from premium processing, in some categories people may actually be harmed or may not provide any real benefit by filing premium processing. There are pros and cons of premium processing as described in detail below. In most of the cases, the advantages outweigh the cost.
Moreover, premium processing may delay the regularly filed cases for people who can't afford to pay extra $1,000 or choose not to do so.

Even through premium processing approves I-140 faster, a person can't file I-485 or do consular processing until the priority date is current. Therefore, it does not get you a green card any sooner.

Unless the I-140 is a self-petition, only the employer or the attorney can file the premium processing form (Form I-907) to request the premium processing. However, the fee for the same can be paid either by the sponsoring employer, an attorney or by the alien beneficiary.

Pending cases that have been issued a receipt notice can be upgraded to premium process at any time if desired.

Eligibility
Premium processing for I-140 is available for the following employment-based immigrant visa classifications:
  • EB1 - Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers

    Please note that premium processing for Multinational Executives and Managers is NOT yet available and expected to be available sometime in early 2012.

  • EB2 - Professional with Advanced Degrees, Exceptional Ability
    National Interest Waiver (NIW) seekers are NOT eligible for premium processing. NIW petitions are complicated and require significant time for detailed review.

  • EB3 - Skilled Workers, Professionals, Other Workers
    Schedule A cases (nurses, physical therapists) are eligible as well.

    Even if they fall within the EB3 classification, the following types of cases would not be eligible for premium processing:
    • a labor certification substitution request

    • a duplicate labor certification requests (i.e., those cases where the original labor certification is not included)

    • a second I-140 filing, if an initial I-140 remains pending

    These cases have additional processing requirements that can't be met within the premium processing timeframe.

However, out of the above classifications, premium processing is only available for alien beneficiaries who, as of the date of filing the Form I-907:
  • Are the beneficiary of a Form I-140 petition filed in a preference category that has been designed for premium processing service;

  • Have reached the sixth-year statutory limitation of their H-1B stay, or will reach the end of their sixth year of H-1B stay within 60 days of filing;

  • Are only eligible for a further H-1B extension under AC21 $104(c) upon approval of their Form I-140 petition; and

  • Are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under AC21 $106(a).

Procedure
In order to determine whether a particular petition meets the conditions, petitioner must submit:
  1. A copy of the alien beneficiary's Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, reflecting current H-1B nonimmigrant status;

  2. Copies of all Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record and I-797 H-1B or L approval notices that have been issued on his or her behalf.

  3. A copy of the relating Form I-140 petition receipt notice, if the Form I-140 was previously filed; and

  4. A copy of the labor certification approval letter issued by the Department of Labor, if filing under EB-2 or EB-3 classifications.

Form I-907 Premium Processing Service requests will be rejected and returned with the I-907 fee, and the Form I-140 petition will be processed according to standard procedures if the Form I-907 is:
  • Submitted without documentation establishing the conditions for availability noted above; or

  • Incorrectly submitted concurrently with a Form I-140 petition at a USCIS office without geographic jurisdiction over the Form I-140 petition; or

  • Submitted to request Premium Processing Service for a Form I-140 petition filed for an alien beneficiary who is eligible to extend his or her H1-B nonimmigrant status under AC21 $106(a) as of the date that the Form I-907 is received by USCIS.

Advantages and Disadvantages
1 Year Extensions of H1B
If the person's priority date is older than 1 year (labor certification or I-140 (in cases where labor certification is not required) was filed 365 days prior to expiration of 6 years on H1), he/she can file extension of H1B status one year at a time. More information.
However, if the I-140 petition were to be denied, such extensions would not be possible, unless the denial was appealed.

3 Years Extensions of H1B
If the person's I-140 is approved and the priority date is not current, the person is eligible to get an extension of H1B in increments of 3 years at a time, beyond 6 years. You are NOT required to have one year old priority date. Just the I-140 approval is enough. More information.
If I-140 is approved faster using premium processing, it will save time, money and effort for both the employer and employee as they don't have to file 1 year extensions. Additionally, the employee does not have to renew the driver's license every year in some states that renew license only up to the duration of legal stay in the US.

AC21 Portability
Under AC21, an alien can change jobs and continue the green card process if the labor certification (if required) and I-140 must be approved and I-485 must be pending for at least 180 days, as long as the new job is in the same or similar category.
Therefore, the person can change the job quicker if I-140 is approved quicker. Of course, this does not apply to persons who could not file I-485 because the priority date is not current.

Job Change - Transfer of Original Priority Date
This is not related to AC21 portability. This is very useful in a case you are planning to change jobs or you fear that your employer may be thinking about laying you off or firing you.
If the person has an approved I-140, but I-485 is not filed during priority date not being current, and decides to change the job, either with the same employer for a different job or with a new employer in a new position, the green card case would have to be started all over again, including labor certification(if required), I-140 and I-485 (or consular processing). However, if the person had an approved I-140 from the previous job, it is possible to request to retain the priority date in a new I-140 petition.

Job Change - EB3 to EB2
This is very useful in case you are planning to change jobs or you fear that your employer may be thinking about laying you off or firing you.
As EB3 classification traditionally has a long backlog and while their case is pending for many years, some people might have gained advanced degrees, acquired several more years of experience, or are offered jobs at a higher level because of promotion or other reasons.

If the new job with the same employer or different employer requires advanced degree and/or experience, it is possible to file the green card again in EB2 category. Even though the green card case would have to be started all over again, including labor certification (if required), I-140 and I-485 (or consular processing), if the person had an approved I-140 from the previous job, it is possible to request to transfer the original priority date in a new I-140 petition.

Possible End of Concurrent Filing
If USCIS discontinues the concurrent filing of I-140 and I-485, I-140 must be approved and priority date must be current in order to file I-485.
If I-140 is approved earlier, it would be possible to file I-485 as soon as the priority date is current. Otherwise, even if the priority date is current, the person would have to wait to get I-140 approved. And if priority date dates retrogresses by the time I-140 is approved, I-485 can't be filed. Even though I-485 can't be approved if the priority date is not current, filing of I-485 may offer potential advantages of AC21 portability and work permit for the dependents.

Possible Earlier Approval of I-485
It is possible that if your priority date is current and if your I-140 is already approved, I-485 would be approved faster compared I-140 pending for a long time.

Consular Processing
For those whose priority date is either current or close to current, if consular processing is selected with I-140 premium processing, it may be possible to get the green card faster than I-485.

However, if the person never filed I-485 and if the priority date retrogresses, he/she would not be able to take advantage of AC21 portability.

Riskier I-140
If sponsoring employer is financially not doing well or if the labor certification is challenged by USCIS, the approval of I-140 is at risk. With premium processing of I-140, you will come to know about the outcome sooner so that you can either appeal I-140 decision or change the employer. Of course, this would be advantageous only if you have some time left on original 6 years on H1B.

Peace of Mind
For many people, given the stress associated with the long wait for permanent residence, the peace of mind that the one more state of green card processing is cleared itself is worth spending $1,000 more for premium processing.

Older dependent children - Child Status Protection Act
Applicants who have a teenager or close to 21 years old dependent children should carefully analyze the situation before applying for premium processing.

Before the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) came into effect, dependent children who turned 21 years of age lost the ability to obtain the green card as derivatives of their parents' green card case. However, under CSPA, to determine the derivative child's age for immigration purposes, his/her actual age at the time priority date is current is reduced by the amount of time the I-140 was pending. If I-140 is approved faster and it takes a long time for priority date to be current, less time the child is able to subtract from his/her age. This decreases the chance of protection under the CSPA. The child must seek to acquire the status of permanent resident within 1 year of priority date being current to use the CSPA.

Example:
Child is 18 years 4 months old when I-140 is filed. It takes 6 months to get I-140 approved. Child is 21 years 3 months old when priority date becomes current. Under CSPA, child can get green card by subtracting 6 months from 21 years 3 months, that is 20 years 6 months age which is less than 21 years.
However, if the I-140 were approved in 15 days, the child can NOT get the green card because subtracting 15 days from 21 years 3 months is 21 years 2.5 months which is more than 21 years.