INS Announces Premium Processing Service for Employers

WASHINGTON - The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) today announced the details of its Premium Processing Service. Beginning June 1, 2001, American businesses will have the opportunity to obtain faster processing of employment-based petitions and applications by taking advantage of the program.

In December 2000, legislation was passed and signed that authorized the Attorney General to collect a $1,000 "premium processing" fee. Under this legislation, the authority to collect this fee applies only to employment-based petitions and applications. Businesses may request Premium Processing on pending and newly filed petitions and applications by filing a completed Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) and paying the $1,000 fee.

The $1,000 fee must be paid with a separate check or money order; it cannot be combined with the regular petition fee. Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) can be downloaded from the INS Web site, www.ins.gov, or can be obtained by calling the INS forms line, 1-800-870-3676 or the INS National Customer Service Center, 1-800-375-5283.

INS guarantees that within 15 calendar days the agency will issue either an approval notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or a notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If INS fails to meet its 15-calendar-day guarantee, it will refund the $1,000 to the company but will continue to process the petition expeditiously. In addition to expedited processing, companies that participate in the program may use a dedicated phone number and e-mail address to check on the status of their petition or ask any other questions concerning their petition. The dedicated phone number, e-mail and mailing address for each INS Service Center can be found in the instructions for Form I-907.

"The Premium Processing Service benefits INS, as well as its customers," said Bill Yates INS' Deputy Executive Associate Commissioner, Immigration Services Division. "With this program, businesses can rely on INS to meet the demands of today's fast paced workplaces. The enhanced revenue from the program will ensure faster service for these businesses without causing delays in the adjudication of other petitions. In fact, the revenue will allow INS to improve service and expand infrastructure to the benefit all of our customers."

INS estimates that beginning in FY 2002, it will collect approximately $80 million annually from the program. The revenue generated from the program will be used to hire additional staff and make infrastructure improvements. These enhancements will improve INS processing of all petitions.

If you have questions about this or any other immigration matters please call us at 212-695-2877

Regulation (Federal Register) 06/01/01

General Information

As of June 1, INS has designated the Form I-129, (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker), for Premium Processing in the following categories:

On July 30, 2001, INS added the following categories to the Premium Processing program:

H-1B Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations;
R-1 Temporary Workers in Religious Occupations; and
TN NAFTA Professionals.

INS will continue to review the program and assess its ability to incorporate other employment -based petitions and applications into the program.

- INS -

Fact Sheet 06/01/01
Premium and Expedited Processing - OBL 99-24 (7/01)

Program and Filing Information

How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?

What is premium processing?

Premium Processing Service will provide American businesses with the opportunity to obtain faster processing of a petition to meet their needs for a foreign worker. Specifically, the INS will provide 15-calendar day processing to those who choose to use this service or the INS will refund the Premium Processing fee and the relating case will continue to receive expeditious service.

The processing period that will be used to determine whether or not the INS meets the 15-day period will begin when the I-907 is delivered to the INS (at the appropriate address) and will end upon the INS mailing of a notice. The notice may be a notice of approval, request for evidence, intent to deny or notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If the notice requires the submission of additional evidence or of a response to an intent to deny, a new 15-day period will begin upon the delivery to the INS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

Who is eligible?

Upon implementation of the program on June 1, 2001, those employers who file a Form I-129 to classify a beneficiary under one of the following nonimmigrant categories may request Premium Processing Service: E-1, E-2, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3 and Q-1.

On July 30, 2001 the INS will also make this service available to employers who wish to file a Form I-129 to classify a beneficiary as an H-1B, TN or R nonimmigrant.

Will the INS expand who is eligible to request Premium Processing Service further?

The INS will review the program and evaluate the ability to incorporate additional forms into the program on a regular basis. No specific forms or dates for incorporating new forms have been identified at this time. It is noted, however, that statutory authority limits the INS to expanding only to other employment-based forms.

May the beneficiary of a visa petition seek premium processing?

No. Only the visa petitioner, or the attorney or representative who has filed a notice of appearance (Form G-28) on behalf of the visa petitioner, may seek premium processing.

What is the fee?

The fee for this service is $1000. The Premium Processing fee may not be waived. In addition to the Premium Processing fee, all filing fees relating to the Form I-129 must also be submitted. The Premium Processing fee must be submitted in a separate check or money order.

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