Because of the length of time it takes for an H1B visa petition to be reviewed (6-10 weeks on average) the USCIS has a Premium Processing Service available that can speed the process significantly. If you file your H1B petition early enough then it may not be necessary to use the service, but it is helpful for late filers or cap-exempt petitions or transfers who may want to start working as soon as possible.
How Long Does Premium Processing Take?
The USCIS will attempt to review and either approve or deny an H1B petition within 15 calendar days. The 15 day period begins when the correct form is received in the designated service center, which are designated geographically. If for some reason the petition needs additional evidence or responses, a new 15 day calendar period will begin once the documentation is received.
If the USCIS does not complete the review of the H1B petition, and issue and approval or denial within the 15 day period, the filing fee will be refunded. Even in the case of a refund, the petition will still be expedited as quickly as possible.
How Do I Request Premium Processing?
There is a separate form for premium processing that must be filed, Form I-907. You fill out this form and include it with the other H1B forms (I-140 or I-129), unless they have already been filed. In that case, you would send Form I-907 to the same service center where your case is currently pending.
What if I Have an Attorney Handling the H1B Petition? Can They File Form I-907 For Me?
Yes, your attorney can file the form and request premium processing on behalf of the petitioner. However, Form I-907 cannot be filed by the beneficiary of an H1B visa petition, although the beneficiary can pay the filing fee. The beneficiary is usually the nonimmigrant who is seeking employment and a work visa, and the petitioner is the sponsoring company.
What is the Fee and is the Extra Money Worth it?
The extra fee for premium processing is $1,225 and must be paid in a separate check or money from the H1B filing fees. This fee cannot be waived.
The cost may be worth it if the expedited processing time will mean that your petition can be included in the H1B lottery. For cap-exempt petitions, premium processing means that the employee can begin work more quickly and won’t have to wait many weeks for a response.
When you pay for premium processing you also have access to special phone numbers and email address for your service center. The USCIS will also collect your email address to send automated notices of receipt of the form and approval of the petition.
How Does the Premium Processing Service Affect the H1B Numerical Cap?
Using premium processing does not give your petition any advantage in falling within the numerical cap for H1B visas. The petitions received via premium processing will still be part of the random selection process once enough petitions have been received. However, it can help if you are filing petition late and still want to try to become part of the H1B lottery.
If you have questions about filing an H1B petition or using premium processing, please contact us and we can help you decide whether this service is worth the extra cost.
- November 22nd, 2016