Starting on Oct. 1, the fee for premium processing of eligible employment-based petitions will increase by roughly 15% to $1,410.
Premium processing is available for certain employment-based petitions and applications. With this expedited service, USCIS guarantees a decision on a petition or application within 15 calendar days. Without premium processing, a petitioner can wait for 6 to 8 months—or longer—for a decision.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the fee increase—the first since 2010—last week. The increase will enable the agency to invest in additional staff and technology.
Impact of Fee Increase
The fee increase comes on the heels of another announcement by USCIS that it is extending and expanding the previously announced suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B filings. Originally, USCIS indicated premium processing for cap-subject H-1B filings would resume on Sept. 11, 2018. However, USCIS expanded the temporary suspension to include all H-1B petitions with limited exceptions and extended the suspension through Feb. 19, 2019.
These two recent USCIS announcements will likely prompt a wave of expedited requests this month. Given that, petitioners who request premium processing should gear up for more Requests for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. An RFE is a request from USCIS for additional documentation—and can substantially delay the adjudication process.
In theory, USCIS should not evaluate petitions with premium processing any differently than those without. But under the Trump administration, the issuance of RFEs for petitions with this expedited processing has become more common.
We Can Help
Under the Trump administration, visa and green card petitions are facing additional scrutiny and higher denial rates. To minimize delays and maximize the chance of success, companies and candidates should assemble strong petitions and documentation. The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help. Contact us.