Expanded Premium Processing Coming Soon!

Expanded Premium Processi…

USCIS has recently announced a set of three initiatives to increase the agency's efficiency, including expanding premium processing:

  1. Setting new agency-wide backlog reduction goals
  2. Expansion of premium processing to additional form types, and
  3. Working to improve timely access to employment authorization documents.

What does this mean for you?

Setting new agency-wide backlog reduction goals: USCIS says that they are now using "internal metrics that guide the backlog reduction efforts of the USCIS workforce and affect how long it takes the agency to process cases. As cycle times improve, processing times will follow, and applicants and petitioners will receive decisions on their cases more quickly. USCIS will increase capacity, improve technology, and expand staffing to achieve these new goals by the end of FY 2023."

Expansion of premium processing to additional form types: We are most excited about this initiative! The premium processing program currently exists for certain case types that are filed using Form I-129, and some I-140 case types. If a petitioner or beneficiary pays an additional $2500 to USCIS, USCIS will adjudicate the case, or issue a request for evidence, within 15 calendar days. USCIS will expand the premium processing option to include Form I-539 (for certain dependents such as H-4, L-2, etc), Form I-765 (application for employment authorization) and Form I-140 (expanded to addition types of employment-based green card petitions; premium processing is currently available for PERM-based I-140 filings). We certainly wish that there were not such extensive USCIS processing backlogs. Ideally, USCIS would timely adjudicate cases without applicants having to pay an additional fee. However, at least we will have this option going forward. Please note that the expanded premium processing services are not available yet, but USCIS says they will be implemented this fiscal year (which ends 9/30/2022). We will certainly post further information when it becomes available.

Working to improve timely access to employment authorization documents: This refers to a regulation that is in the works that would temporarily increase the automatic extension period for certain types of EADS. Again, this is not in place yet, and we will share more information as soon as it's available. Right now, some EAD classifications (but not all) have an automatic extension of up to 180 days, if an EAD renewal is timely filed. Unfortunately, given the long USCIS processing times, a 180 days extension often is not enough to prevent a gap in work authorization. We look forward to seeing this new rule rolled out, hopefully soon!

If you need help navigating the immigration process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at info@sumnerimmigration.com. We look forward to hearing from you!