As many of our readers know, premium processing for Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) and Outstanding Researcher (EB-1B) petitions returned on June 29, 2009. As we are nearing the 2-month anniversary of the return of premium processing for EB-1 petitions, we would like to share some of our observations regarding the processing times and adjudication standards for the reinstated service.
We are happy to report that, at least for now, petitioners will be able to get their cases adjudicated quickly through the reinstated Premium Processing Service. The EB-1 petitions our office has submitted are adjudicated within 1 to 8 days of submission to the USCIS. As reported previously, a recent EB-1B based I-140 was approved, literally, within one business day after submission. We submitted the case on July 8 and it was approved on July 9.
Because we have not yet received an RFE for any of our premium processed EB-1 cases, we have not collected any data on how an RFE might affect processing times under the reinstated Premium Processing Service.
Many readers have expressed concern that a premium processed EB-1 may be held to a higher standard of adjudication when compared to normal processing. Thus far, our office has not observed any difference in the way the USCIS adjudicates a premium-processed case when compared to a case under normal processing.
Taking one of our most recent cases as an example:
The beneficiary worked at a hardware/software enterprise firm as a Computer Scientist. She had approximately 100 citations for her 13 peer-reviewed publications. There were several articles written about her work (a flexible hardware/software design that allowed for easy modular integration) and she served as a reviewer numerous times for several major journals in her field.
Overall, this beneficiary, while a decent candidate for an EB-1A, was not remarkable in terms of qualifications. She received her approval within 8 days of submitting her case to the Premium Processing Service without an RFE.
Concurrently filed I-485
Currently, there is no Premium Processing Service available for I-485 applications; however, for those EB-1 clients who concurrently filed their I-485 cases with their EB-1 petitions, we have observed a processing time of approximately 1-2 weeks for the I-485 approval after the underlying I-140 petition was approved under a premium-processing request. In other words, it is possible to obtain a green card approval within 2-3 weeks of submitting a premium-processing request for an EB-1 petition.
Overall, it appears EB-1 petitioners who are seeking the fastest possible approval times are able to take advantage of premium processing services. Not only has the USCIS consistently approved cases significantly faster than the promised 15 days, but it has also done so without any noticeable increase in the standard from which it adjudicates petitions under normal processing. Moreover, those who have concurrently filed their I-485 applications with their original I-140 petitions can possibly receive the added bonus of having the I-485 approved shortly after I-140 approval.
We will continue to monitor our EB1 cases and post any new developments as they occur.
For questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Attorney Fok at: email@example.com