Premium Processing Service

Introduction
Premium Processing Service allows U.S. businesses to pay a $1,225 fee in exchange for the 15-calendar day processing of their petitions and applications. USCIS guarantees that within 15 days USCIS will issue either an approval notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or a notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If the USCIS fails to process the petition within 15 days, it will refund the $1,000 to the company and continue to process the petition as part of the Premium Processing Service. In addition to expedited processing, companies who participate in the program may use a dedicated phone number and e-mail address to check on the status of their petition or ask any other questions they may have concerning their petition. The dedicated phone number, e-mail and mailing address for each USCIS Service Center can be found in the instructions for Form I-907.

In December 2000, legislation was passed and signed that authorized the Attorney General to collect a $1,000 "premium processing" fee. Under this legislation, the authority to collect this fee applies only to employment-based petitions and applications. This $1000 fee is in addition to all other filing fees required by the Form I-129.

Application
Businesses may request Premium Processing on pending and newly filed petitions and applications by filing a completed Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) and paying the $1,000 fee. The $1,000 fee must be paid with a separate check or money order; it cannot be combined with the regular petition fee.

Beginning June 1, 2001, the following types of non-immigrant visas can be filed for premium processing. (Petition for Non-immigrant worker has to be filed with Form I-129)

E-1 Treaty Trader;
E-2 Treaty Investor;
H-2A Agricultural Worker
H-2B Temporary Worker
H-3 Trainee
L-1 Intra-company Transferees
O-1 and O-2 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
P-1, P-2 and P-3 Athletes and Entertainers; and
Q-1 International Cultural Exchange Aliens.

On July 30, 2001, USCIS added the following categories to the Premium Processing program:
H-1B Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations;
R-1 Temporary Workers in Religious Occupations; and
TN NAFTA Professionals.

These designations will continue until the Service publishes a notice amending or terminating them.

Where to file:
A request for Premium Processing Service should be filed at the appropriate Service Center as indicated on the instructions to the Form I-129 petition. However, the instructions to the Form I-907 provide unique mailing and courier delivery address for each of the Service Centers for use by Premium Processing Service customers only.

If an alternate address is used, the 15 calendar day processing time will begin when the Service initially identifies the case as a request for Premium Processing.

You can request Premium Processing Service either at the same time as or after a petition or application. If you file Form I-907, after you file the related petition or application, the 15 calendar day processing period will begin when the Service receives the Form I-907.

Filing at same time or later:
If the Form I-907 is filed at the same time as the related petition, submit both forms to the designated Premium Processing address for the USCIS Service Center indicated on the petition. If the Form I-907 is filed after the related petition, submit it to the designated Premium Processing Address for the USCIS Service Center where the related petition was previously filed. When submitting a Form I-907 after a related petition, if possible, include a copy of the Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing receipt of the related petition.

In addition, the employer must file the Premium Processing request at the USCIS Service Center designated for the specific application or petition. The Service has established special filing procedures for certain applications and petitions. For example, petitions involving the E-1 and E-2 non immigrant classifications must be filed at either the Texas or California Service Center. Therefore, the Premium Processing request must also be filed at these locations. A Form I-907 filed in connection with a petition involving the E-1 or E-2 non immigrant classification must be submitted to the designated Premium Processing address for the Texas or California Service Center, as appropriate.

Fee waiver:
The fee for Premium Processing Service is set by law and cannot be waived for any reason. However, the Service will refund the fee if it cannot complete its adjudication within 15 calendar days or if Premium Processing for a particular application or petition has been suspended.

The Service will continue its existing policy and procedures for requesting expeditious processing, without any additional fee, of petitions that are filed by petitioners designated as non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service and for petitions and applications that are not designated for Premium Processing Service.

Other
Other non-immigrant applications:
If you request Premium Processing Service for a petition or application that has not been designated by the Service, the Service will return the Premium Processing Fee and Form I-907 and continue normal processing of the petition or application.

USCIS will continue its existing policy and procedures for requesting expeditious processing of petitions and applications that are not designated for Premium Processing. The existing procedures allow for expedited processing based upon the following five criteria:

Severe financial loss to a company or individual,
Extreme emergent situation,
Humanitarian situation,
Department of Defense or national interest situation, or
USCIS error.
In addition, USCIS will accept requests for expedited processing under existing rules from non-profit organizations on all applications and petitions.

Benefits:
The enhanced revenue from the program will ensure faster service for these businesses without causing delays in the adjudication of other petitions. In fact, the revenue will allow USCIS to improve service and expand infrastructure to the benefit all of our customers. Premium Processing Service will provide American businesses with the opportunity to obtain faster processing of petitions and applications to meet their needs for foreign workers.

USCIS estimates that beginning in FY 2002, it will collect approximately $80 million annually from the program. The fee revenue generated by Premium Processing Service will be deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account and used by the Service to hire additional adjudicators, contact representatives, and support personnel to provide service to all its customers. The fee will also be used for infrastructure improvements. These enhancements will improve USCIS processing of all petitions.

Premium Processing Services allows for United States employers to fill key vacancies expeditiously allowing these employers to enhance their profitability and productivity. The benefit will result in certain businesses saving valuable time in hiring foreign-workers that can result in benefits to the entire country.

Dependent family members:
If the family members' application(s) is filed concurrently with the Premium Processing petition, the Service will process the application(s) for the family members with the Premium Processing petition in 15 calendar days without requiring an additional $1,000 fee for the family member's application(s). This applies only to dependents of the beneficiary of the Premium Processing petition.

Non immigrant classifications subject to annual numerical limitations:
The Service is designating Premium Processing Service for certain non immigrant classifications that are subject to annual numerical limitations. Like petitions filed under regular procedures, petitions for which Premium Processing Service is requested will be processed in the order of receipt. Once the annual limitation for a non-immigrant classification is met (e.g., when the Service has received a volume of H-1B petitions sufficient to reach the annual numerical limitation), USCIS will temporarily terminate Premium Processing Service for all pending petitions filed for entry in that fiscal year. The Service will then process all pending petitions (regular and premium together) in the order of receipt.

The Service believes that temporary termination of Premium Processing Service is the fairest method to balance the interest of expedited processing while reasonably preserving the ability of all individuals to access numerically limited immigration programs.

The Service will announce the temporary termination by publication of a notice in the Federal Register. When the Service announces temporary termination of Premium Processing Service for a particular non immigrant classification, it will return the Form I-907 and Premium Fee for all requests subject to the termination.