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USCIS Premium Processing Explained: Eligible Visas and Fees

Premium processing is available to a wide range of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. It enables you to get a visa approval in 15 days or less depending on the visa type.

What is premium processing?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers expedited processing times for certain visa types. USCIS's normal review period can take years for certain visas. You can guarantee a significantly shorter review time by paying extra for premium processing.

Which visas are eligible?

Newly eligible (starting January 30, 2023):

  • 45-day processing: EB-1C, and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

Other case types:

  • 15-day processing: E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ (blanket L-1), O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN, EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-3

How much does premium processing cost?

Review USCIS's website for current filing fees. As of January 30, 2023, the premium processing fee is $2,500 for all visas other than H-2B and R ($1,500). USCIS has not announced plans for premium processing fee increases.

Are weekends included in processing times?

Currently, yes. For example, USCIS will review an H-1B in 15 calendar days if filed with premium processing.

Is USCIS processing in calendar days or business days?

Currently USCIS processing times are in calendar days. For example, a USCIS will review a Form I-140 EB-2 NIW petition in 45 calendar days if filed with premium processing. 

How long does it take for a visa to process with regular processing?

Visa processing times vary greatly and are difficult to predict. You can learn how to check processing times for cases filed with regular processing times here.

What can I do if my case takes longer than 15 days (or 45 days)?

If you are still waiting to receive a decision by the end of the 15-day (or 45-day) period, you can submit a service request to USCIS. You can directly inquire by calling USCIS's premium processing line (+1-866-315-5718) or ask your immigration attorney for assistance.

What happens if I get an RFE?

RFEs (request for additional evidence) do slow down the overall visa process. Thankfully, USCIS will review your RFE response within 15 or 45 days if you paid for premium processing. 

When will premium processing expand to OPT and STEM OPT?

In January 2023, USCIS announced the expansion of premium processing to certain OPT and STEM OPT applications starting this March.

When filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, students can concurrently file Form I-907 for Premium Processing. This option will be available first to F-1 students with a pending Form I-765 and later to students filing a new Form I-765.

USCIS will announce more details related to this expansion in February 2023.

Are green cards eligible for expedited processing?

No. Premium processing is not available for I-485 applications (also called green card applications, adjustment of status, and premium residency applications). However, many immigrant visas qualify. For example, you can file an EB-1C multinational executive petition with 45-day premium processing, but you will still likely have to wait a year or so for your green card to be approved.

Learn more about U.S. immigration:

7 Things to Consider When Traveling Internationally on a U.S. Visa
Which Consulate Can I Go To For My Nonimmigrant Visa?
H-1B Regular Cap vs Master's Cap
Staying in the U.S. After Your OPT Expires
How to Strengthen Your Employment-Based Green Card Profile

About the author:

Nate Lozier