After all the grim news about the Visa Bulletin delays we reported, I have some good news this Tuesday morning. USCIS announced today that effective June 29, 2009, it will resume Premium Processing Service for Form I-140 petitions. I-140 form is used in all Permanent residency applications based on employment. Premium processing will guarantee a 2 week processing as opposed to the lengthy regular process.
So who can use the new procedure?
USCIS will accept Premium Processing requests for Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, involving EB-1 Aliens with Extraordinary Ability, EB-1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers, EB-2 Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability not seeking a National Interest Waiver, EB-3 Professionals, EB-3 Skilled Workers, and EB-3 Workers other than Skilled Workers and Professionals.
Premium Processing Service is still not available for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, involving EB-1 Multinational Executives and Managers and EB-2 Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability seeking a National Interest Waiver.
As our regular blog followers know, for an additional fee of $1000, the USCIS will process the designated form within 15 calendar days of receipt. This is called Premium Processing. While a decision will not necessarily be issued in 15 days, a USCIS officer will review the application and determine the appropriate action. In many instances, this action could be an approval. The officer could issue any of the following, however: a request for further evidence (RFE), a denial, a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), or a notice of fraud investigation. If the notice requires an applicant to respond with additional evidence and/or legal argument, the USCIS is supposed to make a final decision within 15 days of receipt of the response.
Premium processing can be a valuable, strategic tool in connection with three-year H1B extensions and the current Visa Bulletin Backlog for certain countries. We welcome the change..