On June 11, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will again be accepting Premium Processing Service requests for some I-140 Immigrant Petitions, beginning June 16, 2008. However, the service will be available only for certain workers who are nearing the end of the sixth year of H-1B status.
Premium Processing Service offers processing within 15 calendar days, for an additional, non-refundable fee of $1,000. Within 15 days, USCIS will issue an approval, denial, or request for additional evidence.
USCIS is limiting Premium Processing Service to I-140 petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals who:
- Are currently in H-1B status;
- Will reach the sixth year limit of H-1B status within 60 days;
- Are only eligible for a further extension of H-1B status under section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act 2000 (AC-21); and
- Are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under section 106(a) of AC-21.
AC-21 Section 104(c) allows a three-year extension of H-1B status if the I-140 petition is approved and the foreign national would be eligible for Adjustment of Status, but for the fact that there are no visas currently available in the foreign national's visa category.
AC-21 Section 106(a) allows an extension of H-1B status in one-year increments if either a labor certification or I-140 petition has been filed 365 days or more prior to the H-1B six-year maximum, and:
- the labor certification remains pending;
- the labor certification had been approved and the I-140 will be filed within 180 days;
- the I-140 petition is pending; OR
- the I-140 petition is approved.
If the foreign national qualifies for a one-year H-1B extension under Section 106(a), he/she is not eligible to request Premium Processing on the I-140 petition.
USCIS will accept the I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service either at the time of filing the I-140 petition, or "interfiled" later with a pending I-140. E-filing for Form I-907 will not be available.