USCIS to Expand Premium Processing – Immigration



United States: USCIS to expand premium processing

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On March 29, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
announcement that it will expand its premium processing service to include other types of immigration benefit cases, in accordance with a final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Currently, premium processing is only available to employers filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (most commonly for H-1B, L-1, O-1, or TN classifications) and the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Workers for Certain Employment-Based Classifications. Under the new rule, premium processing services will also be available for Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and additional classifications under Form I-140. The rule aims to implement the USCIS Emergency Stabilization Actpassed by Congress and is part of USCIS efforts to reduce existing backlogs and provide needed relief to Employment Authorization Card (EAD) holders.

Although the rule will come into effect on May 31, 2022, it will be phased in over a three-year period. For fiscal year 2022, USCIS plans to begin implementing premium processing for Form I-539 Request to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-765 Request for Authorization to employment and certain Form I-140 classifications (EB-1C classification as a multinational executive or manager, and EB-2 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability requiring national interest relief) .

The new classifications of petitions and requests that will be eligible for premium processing will be phased in as follows:

FISCAL YEAR 2022:

  • Form I-140 EB-1 Multinational Manager

  • Form I-140, EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

  • Form I-539 Change of status to F, J, or M visa status

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for F-1, OPT, and J Exchange Visitors

FISCAL YEAR 2025:

  • Form I-539 Change or Extension of Status for Dependents E, H, L, O, P, and R

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for Additional Applicants (not yet defined)

Until the final rule takes effect, bounty processing will continue to be available only for I-129 petitions and certain I-140 petitions. Until new case types become eligible for premium processing, employers can do the following:

  • Check the USCIS websitewhere USCIS will post when each new case type becomes eligible for premium processing and any applicable terms for those case types;

  • Review their pending cases and, in conjunction with their Mintz legal team, identify any relevant cases that the company may wish to upgrade to premium processing, once eligible;

  • Extend the file for status and work authorization applications as soon as possible based on current USCIS backlogs in processing files.

In addition, USCIS has also announcement on March 29, its continued progress toward a temporary final rule that will extend the automatic extension of EAD validity for certain EAD renewal applicants so that those individuals do not lose their work authorization while their applications for EAD extensions are pending.

Mintz will continue to monitor USCIS’s progress toward its stated goal of reducing backlogs and long processing times for EAD applicants and alerting clients of any significant developments.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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