The Premium Processing Service for Certain I-140 Petitions

 

Introduction to Premium Processing for Form I-140 Petitions

Form I-140 petitionsThe United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows certain petitioners who have filed a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, to request speedy processing of the Form I-140 through the Premium Processing Service. In order to request premium processing, the petitioner must have filed a Form I-140 in a category that allows for premium processing, and must file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, along with a fee. This article will explain the rules and benefits of the Premium Processing Service for employment-based petitions. To learn about using the Premium Processing Service to request expeditious processing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, please follow this link.

How Does the Premium Processing Service Work?

USCIS guarantees 15-calendar day processing of Form I-140 petitions through the Premium Processing Service. The 15-day period begins when USCIS receives USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if it fails to process the Form I-140 within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the Form I-140 with the Form I-907.1

It is important to note that “processed” does not necessarily mean that the Form I-140 will be approved or denied within 15 days. Rather, “processed” means that the petitioner should have a response from the USCIS within 15 days. The response may be an:

  • Approval;
  • Denial;
  • Request for Evidence (RFE);
  • Notice of Intent to Deny;
  • Notice of an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.2

If the USCIS issues a RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny, the 15-day clock will start anew once USCIS receives a complete response from the petitioner.

Which Form I-140 Petitions Are Eligible for Premium Processing?

The following chart courtesy of the USCIS website lists the types of nonimmigrant petitions that are eligible for premium processing:

Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Designated Classification

Within Form I-140

Corresponding
Employment-Based
Immigrant Visa Classification

Availability
Date
1

termination
DATE
2

Aliens of extraordinary ability

EB-1

November 13, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 

Outstanding professors and researchers

EB-1

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 

Multinational executives and managers

EB-1

Not Yet Available

 

Members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability not seeking a National Interest Waiver

EB-2

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 

Members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a National Interest Waiver

EB-2

Not Yet Available

 

Skilled workers4

EB-3

August 28, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 

Professionals4

EB-3

August 28, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 

Workers other than skilled workers and professionals

EB-3

September 25, 2006 and reinstated June 29, 20093

 
  1. The availability date is the date that the classification was initially deemed eligible for Premium Processing Service.
  2. The termination date reflects the last day that USCIS accepted filings requesting that specific classification. If a date is entered in this column, that classification is currently ineligible for premium processing.
  3. On July 2, 2007, USCIS announced the temporary suspension of Premium Processing Service for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, in accordance with 8 CFR 103.2(f)(2). However, after an evaluation of its Form I-140 backlog reduction efforts and increased Form I-140 adjudicative efficiencies, USCIS concluded that as of June 29, 2009, it would reinstate Premium Processing Service for this benefit.
  4. If designated as available. Please see the section on additional conditions placed on Premium Processing Service availability

If a Form I-140 is for an immigrant visa category not listed on the chart, it is not eligible for premium processing.

The USCIS website explains that premium processing is also not available for Form I-140 petitions under the following circumstances:

  • A second filing of a Form I-140 petition while an initial Form I-140 remains pending;
  • Labor certification substitution requests;
  • Duplicate Labor Certification requests (i.e., cases filed without an original labor certification from the Department of Labor), and;
  • A Form I-140 petition in which a final decision has been made.

Who Can Request Premium Processing?

Only the petitioner who filed the Form I-140 may request premium processing (or the attorney-of-record as established by the filing of the Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative). Unless the immigrant visa applicant is a self-petitioner, the petition beneficiary may not request premium processing.

While the payment for the Premium Processing Service may be submitted by the petitioner, the attorney-of-record, or the beneficiary, the beneficiary cannot sign the Form I-907.

Form I-907 Filing Process and Fees

Using the Correct Form I-907

Before filling out the Form I-907, it is essential to ensure that the correct version of the Form I-907 is being used.

In order to check, USCIS advices that the petitioner compare the “edition date” on the lower right corner of the Form I-907 in question to the “edition date” listed on USCIS's “I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service” webpage (www.uscis.gov/i-907)[link].

The Form I-907 will be accepted if both dates match, or if the current date listed on the USCIS webpage is later, but there is a designation “Y.”

Filing the Form I-907

The petitioner or attorney-of-representative must complete and sign the Form I-907 in accordance with the instructions for the current version of the form (see instructions for the current version of the Form I-907 as of Jan 2, 2016).

The petitioner may file the Form I-907 concurrently with the Form I-140 or for a Form I-140 that is already pending.

If the petitioner is filing the Form I-907 concurrently with the Form I-140, it must file both the Form I-140 and Form I-907 at the Service Center designated as the appropriate filing location on the Form I-140 instructions.

If the petitioner is filing the Form I-907 to request premium processing of an already-pending Form I-140, it must submit the Form I-907, along with a Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for the Form I-140, to the USCIS service center where the Form I-140 is pending. If the petitioner received a transfer notice, that means that the Form I-140 is being processed at the service center designated on the transfer notice rather than the service center that the Form I-140 was submitted to. To request premium processing for such a Form I-140, the Form I-907 should include a copy of the transfer notice and should be submitted to the transfer location.

If a standalone Form I-907 is filed at the wrong service center, USCIS may forward the Form I-907 to the correct service center. However, the 15-day period will not start until the Form I-907 is received at the correct service center.

USCIS will reject the Form I-907 and return the accompanying fee if the Form I-907 is filed concurrently with a Form I-140 at the wrong service center.

It is important to file the Form I-907 at the correct service center since a failure to do so will result either in the outright denial of the Form I-907 or a delay in the start of the 15-day premium processing period.

Fees

The filing fee for the Form I-907 is $1,255. This filing fee may not be waived under any circumstance. The fee must be submitted in a separate check or money order. It is important to remember that this fee is only for the Form I-907, and does not change any of the underlying requirements for the Form I-140.

Additional Information

Petitioners designated as not-for-profit entities may request discretionary expedited service in lieu of the Premium Processing Service. If expedited service is denied, the petitioner is still eligible to file for premium processing.

USCIS has a special telephone number and email address available for Premium Processing Service customers to address inquiries regarding the premium processing. The contact information can be found on the USCIS website.

In order to obtain the results of the premium processing expeditiously, the petitioner may provide a self-addressed envelope or courier package slip when filing the Form I-907.

Conclusion: Premium Processing for Form I-140 Petitions

The Premium Processing Service is a valuable tool to ensure expeditious processing of a Form I-140. Whether the Service is worthwhile depends on the circumstances of the petitioner and the specific case. While the Form I-907 and instructions may be found online, we highly recommend consulting with an experienced immigration attorney for assistance in requesting premium processing and for the entire immigrant visa petitioning process.

To learn about the Premium Processing Service for nonimmigrant Form I-129 petitions, please read our full article.

___________________

  1. 8 C.F.R. 103.2(f)(1)
  2. 66 FR at 29682

Resources and Materials:

“How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?,” USCIS, October 26, 2015, available at http://www.uscis.gov/forms/how-do-i-use-premium-processing-service (link)

Kurzban, Ira J. Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Outline and Reference Tool. 14th ed. Washington D.C.: AILA Publications, 2014. 1084-87, 859, Print. Treatises & Primers.