USCIS announced today that it will expand its Premium Processing Service and offer two new classifications for premium processing on August 28, 2006. The new premium processing will extend to two categories within the third employment-based preference (EB-3): (1) Professionals with bachelor degrees and (2) Skilled Workers (workers capable of performing skilled labor requiring two years of education, training, or experience). The new premium processing does not include “other workers” in the EB-3 category for jobs that do not require two years of education, training, or experience, nor does it include workers in the EB-2 category.
For a $1,000 processing fee, USCIS’s Premium Processing Service guarantees that the applicant’s case will receive either an approval notice, request for evidence, intent to deny, or notice of an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within 15 calendar days of receipt. If USCIS fails to complete processing within 15 days, it will refund the $1,000 processing fee and continue to process the case under premium processing. Those who elect to use the service will also have access to a dedicated phone number and email address to check the status of their case and ask questions regarding their petition.
This expansion of the Premium Processing Service will be of particular interest to EB-3 applicants whose visa numbers are current and are waiting for the processing of their I-140 to file their I-485. Additionally, EB-3 applicants who are in their sixth year of H1-B eligibility can also take advantage of premium processing to speed the processing of their I-140’s to extend their H-1B status for another 3 years.