Slight Increase in Premium Processing Fees

Beginning on December 2nd, 2019, premium processing fees will be increased from $1,410 to $1,440 for forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. USCIS is slightly increasing the premium processing fee to reflect the full intended amount adjusted for inflation.

Premium processing is used for petitioners to expediate the processing of their application for various employment-based petitions and applications.Petitions that is submitted with premium processing service will guarantee that the petition will be processed within 15 calendar days. Premium processing is available for various Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, visas. Some of the most common petitions for nonimmigrant worker that utilize premium processing include L-1, O-1, and H-1B visas. The regular processing time for these petitions will usually fluctuate depending on which service center they are filed. Usually, an O-1 visa petition is reviewed within 3 months, an L-1 visa petition is usually reviewed within 6 months but can take longer if filed abroad through consular processing, and H-1B visa processing time can vary anywhere from less than 2 months to more than 6 months. Comparatively, premium processing dramatically expediate the processing time for these visas to 2 weeks instead of multiple months.

Premium processing is also available for immigrant petition for alien workers. For immigrant alien workers, premium process is generally used for EB-1A. EB-1B, and EB-2 after PERM approval.However, premium processing is not available for National Interest Waivers (NIW) and EB-1C (for multinational executives and managers) applications. Regular processing times vary depending on which service center the petition is filed. Generally, normal processing time for EB-1A petitions can range between 4.5 months to 7.5 months, while EB-1B and EB-2 petitions can range from 3.5 months to 7.5 months. To view a full list of petitions that can use premium processing, please visit To check on the normal processing time of different types of petitions, please visit

Compared to regular processing, premium processing dramatically decreases the processing time and applicants will receive a reply much more quickly than regular processing time. Therefore, if an application is strong and the applicant is in need of approval fast, premium processing is a valuable tool. A faster processing time also gives more certainty for the petitioner to better plan for the future instead of waiting many months waiting for a decision.However, premium processing is a costly tool and might result in either a denial or request for more evidence in weak cases.

Furthermore, there are benefits to prolonging the processing time. For example, if a case is likely to receive an RFE, a longer processing time allows the petitioner more time to collect more supporting documents to bolster his or her case. Additionally, regulations allow for a 240-day extension of employment authorization for certain nonimmigrant visa categories while an extension of stay petition is pending. For example, if a petitioner’s H-1B status is about to expire, the petitioner can apply to change their status to an L-1. While the L-1 petition is pending, they are allowed to work under the 240-day work extension rule. In this situation, having a longer processing time might be more beneficial than applying with premium processing because if the application is denied, then the petitioner will lose their ability to work. As such, prolonging the processing time allows the petitioner to fully utilize the 240-day work extension rule. Moreover, longer processing times can help relieve potential age out issues. Due to the backlog of when visas become available for certain countries, it is possible that a child beneficiary of an I-140 petition will have legally become an adult (21 years of age for immigration purposes) by the time the visa becomes available, and will not be able to adjust as a dependent under a I-485 petition. However, while the I-140 petition is pending, the child’s legal age is essentially frozen for immigration purposes. For example, Frank files an I-140 petition under the EB-1A category when his son, Matt, a week away from turning 21 years old. The case is approved after 1 year; and at that time, Matt is a week from turning 22 years old. The immigrant visa numbers for EB-2 NIW applicants became available immediately at the approval time of Frank's immigration petition. Matt's age is reduced by 1 year because his age is frozen while the I-140 was pending, thus he is still considered a child for immigration purposes. As a derivative beneficiary of Frank’s I-140 immigration petition, Matt's age is locked prior to turning 21 years old. Matt can then file his I-485 to apply for adjustment of status with his father. The prolonged processing time was used to freeze Matt’s legal age so that he is still considered a child when the visa becomes available. If premium processing had been used, Matt would have been considered an adult by the time the visa would become available and would not have been able to file his I-485 with his farther. Although premium processing is a useful and powerful tool, whether or not to use premium processing ultimately depends on each individual’s situation. Please contact an attorney to evaluate whether premium processing is right for your petition.

Zhang & Associates, P.C. has successfully represented thousands of non-immigrant and immigrant visas cases in the past 23 years. If you would like to contact us, please email us at Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, EB-5, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past twenty-two years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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