Analysis of Premium Processing Times for EB-1 Petitions

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.

 Processing Times

We are happy to report that, at least for now, the reinstated Premium Processing Service appears to be working much faster than the promised 15-day processing time.  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 10 (Friday) and it was approved on July 13 (Monday).

Because we have not yet received an RFE for any of our premium processed EB-1 cases, we have not collected data yet on how an RFE might affect processing times under premium processing.

Adjudication Standards

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 eight 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 that the Premium Processing Service is an excellent option for those EB-1 petitioners who are seeking the fastest possible approval times.  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 cases adjudicated under the Premium Processing Service and post any new developments as they occur.

For questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Attorney Fok at: