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On March 29, 2022, USCIS announced it would expand on premium processing in order to increase efficiency and reduce its growing caseload that is a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its resource constraints. As of February 2022, USCIS currently has over 9 million immigration applications, an increase of over 3 million applications from the 5.7 applications at the end of fiscal year 2019.

What is Premium Processing?

Premium processing is an expedited process for eligible forms for an additional service fee depending on the form. USCIS guarantees to process the application within 15 days. If USCIS cannot process the application within 15 days, they will refund the premium processing fee and continue the expedited processing. 

What Applications are Available for Premium Processing?

Premium processing will be expanded and available to eligible categories of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and additional classifications under Form I-140. Previously, premium processing was only available to Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and to certain employment-based immigrant visa petitioners filing a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.

When Will the Premium Processing Expansion Begin?

USCIS plans to implement premium processing in fiscal year 2022. USCIS will start with Form I-140 applicants requesting EB-1 immigrant classification as a multinational executive or manager, or EB-2 immigrant classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver.