On May 24, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an expansion of the agency’s premium processing service for certain pending Form I-140 petitions in the EB-1C multinational executive and manager and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories, which have experienced lengthy processing delays in recent years.
This latest expansion will occur in phases, as follows:
- Beginning June 1, 2022, USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing upgrade requests for EB-1C multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before January 1, 2021.
- Beginning July 1, 2022, USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing upgrade requests for:
- EB-1C multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before March 1, 2021; and
- EB-2 NIW petitions received on or before June 1, 2021.
Premium processing is not available at this time for new (initial) Form I-140 filings in these categories.
Pursuant to the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, the implementing regulations for which were published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2022, the premium processing fee for the upgrade request will be $2,500 and the processing timeframe will be forty-five days, which differs from the fifteen days that currently applies to a number of other case types. In addition, according to the USCIS Stabilization Act, the processing clock will not begin to run until “all prerequisites for adjudication” are received by USCIS. Although the phrase is not defined in the act, it is thought to include all documentation and information required to adjudicate the particular case type. It is also worth noting that receipt of a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny will stop the forty-five-day processing period until the agency receives the petitioner’s response to the notice, at which point the clock will start over.
This is the latest of USCIS’s previously announced efforts to extend premium processing and reduce backlogs for a variety of form types not formerly eligible for the service. The agency intends to continue the expansion to additional form types over the next three years. Based on USCIS’s stated goals, it seems likely that the next expansion of premium processing will include Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.