U.S. immigration authorities announced on Friday that, effective Monday, Oct. 19, they will increase the fee for priority processing of work visa applications, a special process that allows expediting the case’s adjudication for an additional, hefty cost.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows U.S. employers or foreign applicants to pay a $1,440 fee for premium processing, in addition to other fees required for the type of forms submitted.
This fee, which is attached to Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, will increase to $2,500, the immigration agency said in a news release.
Premium processing offers an expedited service in which USCIS guarantees processing the non-immigrant worker petition within 15 calendar days to those who choose to pay the extra cost.
USCIS resumed this special faster processing for certain eligible petitions in May, after suspending it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The immigration agency also reported on Friday that it had updated Form I-907, which must accompany the main petition for non-immigrant workers or Form I-129.
On July 31, USCIS announced that it would apply an average 30% increase in its fees as of Oct. 2, but in some cases up to a 535% hike. The agency said the increase was necessary to “continue operations in any long-term, meaningful way to ensure cost recovery.”
But the Trump administration’s plans for an exorbitant increase in fees for some of the most common immigration procedures were halted after a California federal judge blocked the Department of Homeland Security agency from increasing fees.
Judge Jeffrey S. White’s nationwide preliminary injunction blocking fee increases for citizenship and other immigration benefits, does not affect visa premium processing.
According to USCIS’ release, the $2,500 fee will apply to all I-129 applications for non-immigrant workers, with the exception of H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers and R-1 for non-immigrant religious workers. For these two categories, the new premium processing fee is $1,500.
Among the non-immigrant visa classifications impacted by the new fee are H-1B visas for foreigners in specialty occupations, whose requirements were recently toughened by an interim final rule from the Department of Homeland Security.
Applicants for E-1, E-2, L-1 and O-1 visas, among others, who wish to expedite their petition’s processing, must also pay an additional $2,500.
Daniel Shoer Roth is a journalist covering immigration law who does not offer legal advice or individual assistance to applicants. Follow him on Twitter @DanielShoerRoth or Instagram. The contents of this story do not constitute legal advice.
Read this story in Spanish at el Nuevo Herald.