New Law Expands USCIS Premium Processing and Fees

October 1, 2020

President Trump has signed the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, a last second addition to the continuing resolution bill that provides funding to the government. Through this unexpected action, Congress has authorized significant changes to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Premium Processing program. The changes are intended to allow the agency to avoid previously threatened furloughs of its workforce.

The new law is effective immediately, but it is expected that it will take USCIS several days or weeks to implement the authorized changes.

Below are key details of the new law:

  • For visa categories where premium processing is already available (including H, L, E, O, P, TN, and many employment-based immigrant visas), the premium processing fee will increase from the current $1,440 to $2,500. The legislation does not mention a change in the 15-calendar-day processing time for categories that were already eligible for premium processing, but increased timelines are allowed for visa categories that are newly eligible for premium processing.
  • Premium Processing will be made available in the following categories:
    • All employment-based nonimmigrant petitions and associated applications for dependents. This provision will make premium processing available to several new categories and will provide the option of expedited I-539 processing for family members.
    • EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 categories. Although premium processing was already available to some employment-based immigrant visa categories, this provision will expand premium processing to include EB-1C multinational executives and managers as well as EB-2 national interest waivers.
    • Applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status.
    • Applications for employment authorization; and
    • Any other immigration benefit USCIS deems appropriate.
  • Premium processing fees and timelines for newly eligible categories. For the new premium processing options, the following shall apply:
    • For EB-1C (multinational executives and managers), the fee shall be no more than $2,500 and the processing time no more than 45 days.
    • For changes of status to F, J and M categories, the fee shall be no more than $1,750 and the processing time no more than 30 days.
    • For a change of status for dependents in E, H, L, O, P, or R, or extensions in these categories, the fee shall be no more than $1,750 and the processing time no more than 30 days.
    • For EADs, the fee shall be no more than $1,500 and the processing time no more than 30 days.
  • The premium processing clock will not start until all prerequisites for adjudication are received.
  • DHS is also required to implement processes to ensure that the availability of premium processing does not result in an increase in processing times for non-premium processing cases.

This information is distributed for informational purposes only. For further questions, please contact a G&A professional for assistance.

 

 

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