Impending Changes To Premium Processing Service: What To Expect

On October 1, 2020, President Trump signed into law the ‘Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act,’ which provides FY 2021 funding to Federal agencies through December 11, 2020, for continuing the projects and activities of the Federal Government.

The Act, among other provisions, also provides for expanding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to provide premium processing services and increasing the premium processing fees. While DHS previously only had the authority to provide premium processing service for employment-based applications, under the new law, DHS may collect a fee to provide premium processing of an application for any immigration benefit that DHS considers appropriate.

Some of the key provisions related to USCIS Premium Processing service are as below:

1.DHS is authorized to establish and collect a premium fee in connection with:

a. All Employment-based nonimmigrant petitions and associated applications for dependents of the beneficiaries of such petitions

b. All EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant petitions

c. Applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status (Form I-539)

d. Applications for employment authorization (Form I-765)

e. Any other immigration benefit type deemed appropriate for premium processing.

2.The Premium Processing fee with respect to an immigration benefit type currently designated for premium processing shall be $2,500, except for H-2B and R visa petitions. The Premium Processing fee for H-2B and R visa petitions shall be $1,500.

3.With respect to an immigration benefit type that may be designated for premium processing in future, the initial premium processing fee shall be established by regulation, subject to the following limitations:

a. For EB 1-C and EB-2 NIW Immigrant Visa Petitions, the Premium Processing fee shall not exceed $2,500 and the stipulated processing timeframe shall not be greater than 45 days

b. For I-539 Change of Status applications seeking a change to F, J or M visa classifications, the Premium Processing fee shall not exceed $1,750 and the stipulated processing timeframe shall not be greater than 30 days

c. For I-539 applications seeking change of status to, or extension of, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, R-2, or dependent E visa categories, the Premium Processing fee shall not exceed $1,750 and the stipulated processing timeframe shall not be greater than 30 days

d. For I-765 applications for employment authorization, the Premium Processing fee shall not exceed $1,500 and the stipulated processing timeframe shall not be greater than 30 days.

We continue to monitor the developments related to the implementation of the above provisions, and will provide further updates as the situation develops.

If you have any questions regarding the Premium Processing service, or need help filing for an immigration benefit, contact VisaPro Law Firm today. Our experienced immigration attorneys will be happy to assist you.

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