USCIS’s premium processing fee increase is the result of a stopgap spending measure recently signed into law to address the organization’s budget shortfall. The law will increase USCIS revenue by allowing a hike in premium processing fees and an expansion of the premium processing service to other employment-based petitions and applications.
The fee increase is currently in effect for petitions that are already eligible for premium processing services through the Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing — except for H-2B and R-1 petitions (those increased from $1,440 to $1,500).
The current implementation does not alter how USCIS counts “days,” so premium processing time continues to be 15 calendar days. However, this is expected to change to 15 or more business days.
How could this possibly be good for applicants? Because the law provides for an expansion of the Premium Processing Service to other categories that will benefit from this service. This is a welcome relief to those who have been waiting — in many cases for over a year — for USCIS’ adjudication, and should help maximize work authorization for certain EAD renewals.
We have summarized the expected enhanced options for you below:
Additionally, under the new law, USCIS is:
- Allowed to suspend premium processing when necessary,
- Allowed to adjust premium fees biannually without rulemaking requirements, and
- Required to provide users with “direct and reliable” access to premium process case status information and the ability to communicate with the premium processing units.
As of this writing, USCIS has not announced when it will implement the required expansion or direct and reliable access to the premium unit. While we know the fee increases will be a hardship for some, we welcome and are in line to utilize the implementation of these expanded options for our clients.