USCIS Decides to Expand Premium Processing
In May 2022, the first phase of the expansion of premium processing was announced. This was applied to several pending EB-2 NIW as well as EB-1 Multinational Executive and Manager petitions.
Then, the agency commenced with the second phase of premium processing expansion in July, applying it to EB-1C petitions that USCIS received on or before 1 July 2021. Plus, premium processing was also applied to EB-2 petitions that USCIS received on or before 1 August 2021.
Similarly, the third phase began in September 2022 when USCIS started applying premium processing to EB-1C petitions that were submitted on or before 1 January 2022 and EB-2 petitions received on or before 1 February 2022.
Should You Opt For Premium Processing?
Eligible candidates interested in upgrading their petitions to premium processing should consult their immigration attorney first. While premium processing is going to become available for everyone, some applicants are advised against upgrading to it. This is because going for an upgrade could create obstacles in the processing of applications, and the authorities might issue a Request for Evidence.
Is Premium Processing Applied to Other Types of Petitions?
According to the recent announcement by USCIS, premium processing will be expanded to other types of applications in March 2023.
These include the Application for Employment Authorization, F-1 students pursuing Optional Practical Training or OPT, and F-1 students pursuing STEM OPT extensions with a pending I-765 Form.
In addition to this, in April 2023, the premium processing is going to be further expanded to F-1 students pursuing OPT and F-1 students pursuing STEM OPT extensions at the time of filing the I-765 Form.
Specific dates for every group will be announced during February by USCIS.
Moreover, USCIS is also planning to apply premium processing to I-539 Form, which is an Application to Extend or Change nonimmigrant status. This will be done in phases.
Then, in May, USCIS plans to apply premium processing to pending I-539 Form applications for some student and exchange visitors.
Student and exchange visitors who are filing I-539 Form applications for the first time can opt for premium processing in June.
More announcements are expected to follow when USCIS decides to implement its new plans.