Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

What is Premium Processing?

Q: What is Premium Processing?

A: Premium Processing is a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) program that lets a petitioner – generally, the employer – pay more for a faster answer on certain types of cases. Where premium processing is offered and requested, USCIS will respond in some fashion within 15 days of receipt of the case.

Q: Can any case be premium processed?

A: No. Most type of cases can’t be; only two form types – what USCIS refers to as “product lines” – can be premium processed: the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker form used for most nonimmigrant work visas, and the I-140 Petition for Immigrant Worker form used in connection with employment-based permanent residence cases.

Not even all I-129 and I-140 filings are eligible – some case types which use these forms are ineligible, and even some categories which would normally be eligible may be unable to use the program in some instances. This is often because some factor would cause the case to take longer to adjudicate than would be possible within he mandated 15-day premium processing response time (having to obtain a copy of an original Labor Certification approval from DOL, having to perform a site visit, etc.)

Q: Does the use of Premium Processing Guarantee an approval within 15 days?<.strong>

A: No. Only a response of some form is promised – this can be an approval, but it can also be a denial or a Request for Evidence (“RFE”), demanding further documentation or explanation.

Receipt by USCIS of a response to an RFE begins a new 15-day response period. The response can again be an approval, denial or RFE – second and third RFEs do happen, but are still relatively rare. Most cases will be approved or denied after a response to an initial RFE.

Q: Is the 15-day premium processing response time 15 business days or 15 calendar days?

A: 15 calendar days – just slightly more than two weeks.



Contact us here to arrange a consultation, to inquire about retaining us to handle your immigration matter, or simply to suggest topics you would like to see covered on our site.

The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.