USCIS accepts various kinds of forms related to different types of applications or benefits requests submitted to them. Each of those forms processing times can vary depending on various factors such as load, time taken to process a form. Many of those forms filed with USCIS do not have any Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the decision from USCIS. In some cases, you may be able to submit expedite request with USCIS for some types of forms, but not for all of them.
This is where the USCIS premium processing option comes into the picture that provides an option for processing with an SLA. This page tracks complete details about Premium Processing with USCIS, latest news, what forms are eligible, current availability, fee, how to raise it, how to contact USCIS and all other details.
What is USCIS Premium Processing ?
Premium Processing is a service offered by USCIS for faster processing of certain forms filed with them. If an eligible petition or form is filed under premium processing with USCIS, they guarantee the processing to be done within 15 calendar days. If they do not meet the 15 calendar days SLA, then they will refund the premium processing fee and will continue the expedited processing.
Eligible Forms, Visa Types for Premium Processing?
USCIS Premium processing option is primarily available for anyone who files Forms I-129, which is used to file petition for non-immigrant worker, and Form I-140, which is used to file Immigrant petition for alien worker. Below are the various popular visa types that use these Forms.
|Visa Classification||USCIS Form||Description of the Visa Classification|
|E-1, E-2||I-129||Visa for Treaty Trader, Treaty Investor|
|H-1B||I-129||Foreign Worker visa in Speciality Occupation|
|H-2B||I-129||Temporary worker doing non-agricultural services|
|H-3||I-129||Trainee / Special education exchange visitor|
|L-1A||I-129||Intracompany Transferee as Executive/Manager|
|L-1B||I-129||Intracompany Transferee with Specialized Knowledge|
|LZ (L-1)||I-129||Blanket L-1 for employers who meet certain|
|O-1, O-2||I-129||Extraordinary ability related visas.|
|P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S||I-129||Various visa types for athletes, entertainers, etc.|
|Q-1||I-129||International Cultural exchange alien|
|R-1||I-129||Religious Occupation Foreigner|
|TN-1, TN-2||I-129||NAFTA Professionals Canada, Mexico|
|Immigrant Visa||USCIS Form||Description of Immigrant Visa (Green Card) Classification|
|EB-1||I-140||Extraordinary ability aliens, professors, researchers, multinational managers & executives.|
|EB-2||I-140||Professionals with advanced degree or exceptional ability|
|EB-3||I-140||Skilled workers, professionals, Others|
Premium Processing for EAD, H4, L2, Others : US Congress passed a Bill to expand premium processing for additional forms and visa types. It was signed by president into law on October 1st, 2020. USCIS has not yet published regulation. Once USCIS publishes the final regulation, the below forms, visa types would be eliigible for premium processing as well.
- H4 Visa Extensions & COS, H4 EAD
- L2 Extensions & COS, L2 EAD
- All EAD Applicatidons filed with USCIS.
- Change of Status(COS), Extensions filed using Form I-539 like F1, B1/B2, F2, J, etc.
- I-40 under EB1-C, National Interest Waiver (NIW) Applications
Any form or visa type that is not listed above are not eligible for premium processing with USCIS.
How much is the Fee ?
USCIS Premium processing fee is $2,500 USD. The fee went up from Oct 19, 2020. If paying by check, you need to make it payable for “ U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
How to file Premium Processing for a Form or Petition?
To file a petition in premium processing, you need to complete Form I-907, which is called “Request for Premium Processing Service” as per instructions, attach respective fee and submit this form along with Form I-129 or I-140. Usually, the petitioner, who can be employer or their attorney/ representative, would do this. If you would like to upgrade an existing normal processing petition into premium processing, you need to send the receipt notice of petition and completed form I-907 to the respective service centre, where the petition is currently processed. If there was any transfer notice given to other service center, that should be included as well.
What to expect with Premium Processing in 15 Calendar Days?
USCIS mentions that if a petition is filed under premium processing, they will process the respective petition, adjudicate within 15 calendar days and issue one of the following:
- Approval Notice.
- Denial Notice
- Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
- Request for Evidence (RFE)
- Open an Investigation for fraud or misrepresentation
USCIS Premium Processing Timeline – When does it Start ?
The 15 Calendar Days Clock for USCIS premium processing starts from the day USCIS receives the correctly filed I-907 form for premium processing along with required fee at the correct address location tied to the form.
If there is an RFE or NOID given for the underlying I-129 or I-140 petition, then the 15 days clock stops and it re-starts from the day, USCIS receives the RFE or NOID response. So, technically, it takes 15 Calendar days from the day you submit RFE or NOID response to USCIS.
Also, you need to factor in couple of days for the mail to be received or sent, this is slightly grey area and many get worried, if they do not hear in exact 15 days. The processing can spill over by couple of days with the mail processing.
There were talks to change the processing time clock from 15 calendar days to 15 business days. But, these changes were blocked by court.
Current Premium Processing Availability
The below availability is up to date as of June 6, 2021
|Visa Classification||USCIS Form||Availability Status|
| P-1, P-1S,
P-2, P-2S, |
|Immigrant Visa||USCIS Form||Availability Status|
USCIS Premium Processing Contact Information
You can contact USCIS Customer Service at 866-315-5718 for premium processing questions. You can only contact this number after filing for premium processing. You will need to have your receipt number ready to get any support. If you are looking to order physical forms of I-907, then you can call I-800-375-5283.
How to check Premium Processing Case Status?
Once the Premium processing request is accepted, the petitioner (employer, attorney or representative) would get an email with USCIS receipt number and copy of the receipt notice. You can track the status online on USCIS Case Status website.
H1B Premium Processing Suspension Status 2021, FY 2022
In the past, usually USCIS used to suspend premium processing for H1B cap subject petitions when the H1B season starts in April of every year. But, for H1B FY 2022 Season, that started in April 2021, USCIS has not suspended premium processing. Employers filing for new cap subject petitions, can submit H1B petition and request premium processing for the same by paying $2500 USD Fee.
Also, H1B premium processing continues to be available for below types of H1B petitions. There is no suspension for these below categories of H1B petitions.
- H1B Transfers
- H1B Extensions or Change of Status
- H1B Cap exempt petitions that are usually Universities and non-profit research institutions.
USCIS Premium Processing for I-130 Form ? Expedite ?
USCIS does not have premium processing available for the I-130 form, which is called as “Petition for Alien Relative”. Usually I-130 form is filed as part of the Family-based green card process. You cannot expedite the processing using an option like USCIS premium processing by paying certain fee.
As I-130 Form does not have premium processing, the only other option is to raise an Expedite Request with USCIS, if eligible for it. Usually, they would consider based on certain critical situations like urgent humanitarian need or anything is in the interest of US Govt.
- June 6-2021 : As of today, there is no news update on the premium processing status for H4 EAD and other forms, we continue to wait.
- Oct-16-2020 : USCIS increased the premium processing fee to $2,500 starting from Oct 19, 2020. This is as per the signed law in early October for funding federal agencies. Read more at USCIS Premium processing fee is now $2500 for H1B, I-140
- May-29-2020 : USCIS announced to resume premium processing from June 1st, in phases. Check Premium Processing Opens from June 1st, 2020 for full details.
- March-20-2020 : USCIS suspends premium processing for all types of cases due to the COVID-19 situation. Check more at Premium Processing Suspended
- March-16-2020 : USCIS announces temporary suspension of premium processing for FY 2021 cap subject petitions. Check USCIS alert
Yes. The Service Level Agreement for Premium processing is 15 calendar days, it includes both holidays and weekends. Calendar days include all days in a week, irrespective of weekday or weekend, including holidays.
No, I-539 form does not have premium Processing. USCIS may try to adjudicate faster, but due to Biometrics collection, it may not happen. Based on H1B + H4 Biometrics Experiences, it’s not adjudicated in same 15 days. In the past, it used to done as courtesy.
If paying for premium processing by check, you need to make it payable for “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
There is no regulation or estimated time published by USCIS on this. Congress passed the regulation in 2020, but USCIS is yet to take up the regulatory process to implementing premium processing for H4 EAD and others.
If USCIS does not meet their 15 days deadline for Premium Processing, they would usually refund the fee related to premium processing and continue to adjudicate in premium processing. Just refunding the fee does not mean that they would not process in premium. There are some exceptions to this, when there is high load during start of H1B cap season or USCIS explicitly states issues like COVID situation.
Yes, USCIS ended the courtesy premium processing of H4 or other applications that were filed concurrently using I-539 form when they introduced the Biometrics processing. Due to the delays in Biometrics and timelines, they do not process faster as a courtesy to meet the premium processing deadline for the I-539 form.
It is calendar days, means it includes both working days and non-working days like holidays and weekends.
There is not estimated date given by USCIS yet on when they will start H4 EAD premium processing. Congress passed a bill that instructs USCIS to implement premium processing for EAD, including H4 EAD. But, so far there is no regulation or any update on the same from USCIS. Currently, it is in USCIS list of things to do.