On September 30th, the President signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act which will fund the government through December 11, 2020. The Act permanently expanded USCIS' premium processing program for many employment-based categories, including EB-1 Multinational Manager and EB-2 National Interest Waiver.
For categories already eligible for premium processing (ex: O-1 and EB-1A), the premium processing fee will increase from $1440 to $2500.
The Act also requires rulemaking to set fees for expanded premium processing services, consistent with the following:
- EB-1 petitions for Multinational Managers and Executives or EB-2 NIW petitions – fee is no greater than $2,500 and processing time is no greater than 45 days.
- Form I-539 change of status requests for F, J and M - fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
- Form I-539 change of status requests for dependents seeking E, H, L, O, P and R – fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
- Form I-765 (EAD application) – fee is no greater than $1,500 and processing time is no greater than 30 days.
In addition, the act limits the authority of the DHS to suspend premium processing services. DHS will be required 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. Premium processing can, however, be suspended in the instance the DHS is unable to keep up with demand within the required time period.
The expanded premium processing service and increased fees for premium processing will not take effect until USCIS is able to implement the new rule. It is still unknown how long this will take, and USCIS is expected to make a public announcement soon. Legalpad is closely monitoring developments.