The Ultimate Guide to USCIS Premium Processing

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Picture of Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

When you’re staring down the ticking clock of immigration paperwork, knowing your options can be a real stress reliever.

Premium Processing is like a fast pass at an amusement park but for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), offering you the chance to speed up the review of certain visas and employment-based petitions.

Whether you’re eyeing an H1B visa, chasing down a green card, or navigating an employment authorization document, this service could be your ticket to quicker answers.

But like any express lane, it comes with its own rules, fees, and expectations.

Keep reading to unravel the essentials of Premium Processing, and see if it’s the right move for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Premium Processing Service Can Reduce USCIS Decision Times From Months to 15 Days
  • Eligible Forms for Premium Processing Include I-140, I-539, Certain H1B Cases, and EB-2 NIW
  • Applicants Must Submit Form I-907 and the Associated Fee for Premium Processing
  • Delays and Requests for Additional Evidence Must Be Addressed Promptly to Avoid Affecting the Expedited Service
  • Premium Processing Allows for Better Planning and Reduced Stress Due to Predictable Processing Times

What Is USCIS Premium Processing?

Imagine you’ve just landed your dream job or you’re near to obtaining a long-awaited visa, but standing between you and that new venture is a stack of immigration procedures that seem to stretch on endlessly.

Enter USCIS Premium Processing, a feature offered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that accelerates the adjudication of certain visa petitions and applications.

It’s like a fast track for your immigration paperwork, slashing wait times from months to weeks, and in some cases, days.

For anyone eager to move forward with employment, this service is like a golden ticket, promising less time in limbo and more time making your mark.

In this introduction, we’ll get a grip on what expedited processing really means and sift through the forms that have the green light for the premium treatment.

Understanding the Basics of Expedited Processing

Expedited processing, known as Premium Processing Service within the USCIS, offers a rapid response to those submitting applications and petitions for immigration benefits. This fee-based service guarantees that USCIS will act on the case within a specific timeframe, which is a boon for applicants needing a quicker resolution.

Typically, Premium Processing ensures that applicants receive a response within 15 calendar days. This includes decisions such as approvals, denials, or requests for additional evidence that might be needed to move forward with an application. It’s a straightforward way for individuals to manage their immigration timeline more effectively.

Identifying Which Forms Are Eligible for Premium

Getting to know which immigration forms are eligible for that expedited advantage is crucial. The USCIS has specified that applications such as Form I-140, widely known for its role in employment-based immigration, and Form I-539, used by individuals looking to extend or change their non-immigrant status, are ripe for premium processing.

Depending on the case, even other scenarios involving Form H1B, which is pivotal for skilled workers coming to the US, can see the benefits of premium processing. Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and National Interest Waiver petitions also fall under this category:

Form TypeEligibility for Premium Processing
I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)Eligible
I-539 (Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status)Eligible
H1B (Nonimmigrant Work Visa)Eligible for Certain Cases
EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver)Eligible
EAD (Employment Authorization Document)Eligible for Certain Cases

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How to Apply for Premium Processing Service

Trying to access the premium processing service requires attention to detail and readiness to comply with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) procedures.

This includes collecting the right documents and covering the associated fee.

Before diving into the process, applicants should prepare their paperwork with precision and ensure that they have the financial part sorted.

The cornerstone of applying for premium processing is the submission of Form I-907.

Exploring these steps lays the groundwork for a smoother experience, increasing the likelihood that USCIS will process the application both swiftly and without hitches.

Preparing the Necessary Documentation and Fee

Starting off, the first thing you’ll need to grab is Form I-907, the official request for Premium Processing Service.

Make sure all sections are filled out accurately, paying close attention to the type of petition or application you’re submitting. This form acts as your ticket into the fast lane of the USCIS’s processing system.

Then, there’s the matter of the processing fee, which isn’t pocket change but is a necessary investment for expedited service. You’ll need to check the latest fee on the USCIS website as it can change based on the consumer price index. Remember, the right check or money order attached to your accurately completed form is crucial to avoid delays or rejections of your premium processing request.

Submitting Form I-907 Correctly

When it comes time to submit Form I-907 for premium processing, accuracy and timing play pivotal roles. Applicants must ensure the form is sent to the correct address provided by USCIS for their specific petition type; sending it to the wrong address can lead to frustrating delays.

It’s also essential to time the submission of Form I-907 in synchronization with, or shortly after, the initial petition to avoid any complications.

This coordination can mean the difference between a smooth process and additional rounds of correspondence, eating into the time saved by opting for premium service.

The Benefits of Choosing Premium Processing

Premium Processing stands out as an invaluable resource for applicants and petitioners craving speed and certainty in their journey towards employment or residency.

This service not only hits the fast-forward button on adjudication times but also streamlines the overwhelming procedures of case management for individuals and employers alike.

While standard USCIS processing times may vary, opting for Premium Processing sheds light on a clear and expedited path forward, offering an edge in planning one’s future in the States.

Faster Adjudication Times Explained

The USCIS’s premium processing speeds up the review of applications, shrinking the timeline for a decision down to a reliable 15-day window.

This is a significant shift from the traditional processing period that can stretch over several months, creating a ripple of uncertainty for applicants and employers.

When an individual opts for premium processing, the accelerated adjudication provides a predictable endpoint, enabling clearer planning regarding employment start dates or academic enrollments. This opportunity supports life and career transitions by minimizing the time spent in administrative procedures.

How Premium Processing Impacts Case Management

Opting for Premium Processing significantly alters the way applicants and their legal representatives handle immigration cases.

It injects a sense of urgency and precision into the process, prompting attorneys and applicants to gather and submit all crucial documents quickly to meet the accelerated review deadlines set by USCIS.

This expedited approach also allows for more efficient communication between USCIS and applicants. Responses like requests for evidence or notices of intent to deny are dealt with swiftly through Premium Processing, ensuring that cases progress without unnecessary delays and that any potential issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Timelines and Expectations With USCIS Premium

Understanding the difference in timeframes between standard and expedited processes through USCIS Premium Processing is key for those looking to carefully plot out their future steps on U.S. soil.

Knowing when to expect a response and what to do once it arrives helps shape the roadmap for building a life or developing a career in America.

This guidance aims to bring transparency to the typically opaque timeline of immigration case handling, equipping applicants with the foresight necessary to anticipate their next moves in response to USCIS’s feedback.

Tracking Standard vs. Expedited Process Durations

When someone files for a visa or immigration benefit, the wait can be nerve-wracking. Standard processing takes its time, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sometimes taking several months to make a decision: a factor influenced by application volumes, the complexity of cases, and changes in immigration law.

  1. For a standard H1B petition, processing can typically extend beyond six months.
  2. The I-140 standard processing might stretch to over a year, depending on the work category and country of chargeability.
  3. Applications for a change of status using the I-539 form can take more than three to six months without expedited service.

In contrast, the premium processing timeline is much more transparent, with USCIS committing to an expedited 15-day window starting from the day they receive the premium processing request. This service’s predictability allows for better personal and professional planning, reducing the stress associated with uncertain waiting times.

What Happens After Receiving a Response

Once the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) responds to your premium processing request, an applicant’s path can take a few different turns.

For positive outcomes like approvals or granting of the petition, the next steps involve preparing for work, relocation, or study. If the decision is unfavorable, individuals or their legal representatives must quickly pivot, assessing options like appealing the decision or preparing new applications.

Responses from USCIS often include requests for evidence (RFE) or notices of intent to deny (NOID), hitting pause on the excitement and signaling a crucial period for action. Applicants must address these promptly and thoroughly to maintain momentum in their case:

  1. Gather the additional evidence requested carefully.
  2. Consult with legal counsel to ensure accurate and complete responses.
  3. Submit the follow-up documentation within the specified deadlines to continue the process without delay.

A comprehensive guide for new immigrants.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Premium Processing

As you undergo the premium processing service, experiencing some challenges is something that you can never prevent to happen.

Applicants often face unexpected delays and requests for additional evidence (RFEs) that can disrupt the flow of an expedited review.

Understanding how to anticipate and tackle these hurdles is essential for ensuring that your journey through immigration procedures doesn’t hit a snag.

This section is your compass for navigating those rough patches, ensuring you have the know-how to stay on course towards your goal.

Addressing Delays and RFEs During Expedited Review

Premium Processing offers quick turnarounds on immigration paperwork, but what happens if your expedited application hits a bump?

The key lies in swift and methodical responses when dealing with delays and when USCIS issues a request for evidence (RFE). These hurdles require immediate attention to ensure they don’t derail your fast-tracked application.

For delays, check the USCIS online system for status updates and reach out through provided email addresses or customer service numbers if the timeframe exceeds the promised window. With RFEs, assembling the necessary additional information quickly and correctly is critical:

  1. Review the RFE carefully to understand exactly what USCIS is requesting.
  2. Collect the required evidence, making sure it’s thorough and supports your case strongly.
  3. Respond to the RFE before the deadline, as a late submission can invalidate your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does USCIS premium processing work and what are its benefits?

USCIS premium processing accelerates the adjudication of certain employment-based petitions and applications, promising a faster review timeframe than the standard process. It’s a service that comes with a fee, offering applicants the chance to get their work authorization, green card, or other immigration benefits sorted out quicker, especially when it’s critical for their employment or personal circumstances.

What are the steps to apply for premium processing service with USCIS?

To apply for premium processing with USCIS, start by confirming eligibility for your specific visa classification and then complete Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. Pay the associated fee and mail the application to the address provided by USCIS for your form and filing location.

How long does it take for USCIS to process an I-140 petition with premium processing?

If you opt for premium processing for an I-140 petition, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services promises to process your case usually within 15 calendar days. This means they will either make a decision, request more evidence, or issue a notice of intent to deny within that timeframe.

What should I do if I encounter any issues or delays during the premium processing of my application?

If you run into problems or slowdowns while using premium processing for your application, the first thing you should do is check your email for any updates or requests for additional information from USCIS. Should the issue persist, you can make a direct inquiry with USCIS by reaching out to their contact center or by emailing them using the email address you provided in your application.

Are there any specific eligibility requirements or restrictions for utilizing USCIS premium processing?

Yes, not all applications are eligible for premium processing service; it’s primarily available for certain employment-based petitions and applications, like the H1B or certain green card petitions. There are specific forms, such as I-129 and I-140, that can be expedited, but restrictions apply, like limits on the types of requests and new filings versus extensions.


The “Ultimate Guide to USCIS Premium Processing” serves as an invaluable resource for individuals and employers navigating the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.

By opting for Premium Processing, applicants significantly expedite the review of their petitions and applications, reducing the standard processing time of several months to just 15 calendar days.

This service enhances predictability and allows for precise planning, whether for work, study, or residency.

This guide equips users with the knowledge to prepare and submit necessary documentation efficiently, handle potential roadblocks like Requests for Evidence, and manage the overall process to ensure swift and effective advancement towards their immigration goals.

Ultimately, the guide highlights the tangible benefits and methodologies of leveraging Premium Processing, facilitating a smoother and more controlled immigration experience.

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