Congress Passes Stopgap Spending Measure and Premium Processing Services Expanded

By October 9, 2020Immigration, News
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Congress has passed a stopgap spending measure to ensure that the US government and several immigration operations will be extended through to December 11, 2020.

The spending measure extended the four expiring immigration programs including the E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the Conrad 30 Program, and the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker permanent residence program.

This stopgap spending has also brought changes to the premium processing services. Premium processing guarantees that USCIS will take adjudicative action on the application within 15 days. If USCIS fails to do so, the agency will return the fee but still expedite the application. Premium processing also guarantees that any RFE or NOID responses will also be adjudicated within 15 days. Please click here to learn more about premium processing. One of the changes is that premium processing fees has now increased from $1440 to up to $2500.

The program has also expanded to include more applications and petitions, including the following:

TypeProcessing TimePremium Processing Fee
Most Form I-140, EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 petitions15 calendar days$2500
EB-1 Multinational Manager EB-2 National Interest Waiver EB-2 Physician45 daysNot greater than $2500
Form I-129 Nonimmigrant Worker Petition Form I-129 ApplicationsE-1E-2H-1BH-2BH-3L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.  15 calendar days$2500
Form I-539 Change or Extension of Status to F, J, or M30 daysNot greater than $1750
Form I-539 Change or Extension of Status for E, H, L, O, P, and R Dependents30 daysNot greater than $1750
Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization30 daysNot greater than $1500

The new regulations has also limited DHS’ authority to suspend premium processing services. DHS usually suspends premium processing when they have a large amount of application to process and feel that the agency cannot complete the review of application in a timely manner. Now, DHS are only permitted to suspend services when DHS cannot complete a “significant number” of premium processing requests. It also requires DHS to provide petitioners and applicants with “direct and reliable” access to premium case status information and the ability to communicate with premium processing units at USCIS Service Centers.

Although the new premium processing law has immediate effect, it will take USCIS some time to implement the law. USCIS will issue an announcement when the expanded program becomes available. The current premium processing services remain in place until then.

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