By: Allie K. Dempsey and Nigel D. James
On March 29, 2022, the Biden administration announced measures to reduce the USCIS backlog and speed up processing for certain types of applications, including expanding premium processing to previously ineligible immigration benefits like the National Interest Waiver (NIW). USCIS will announce on its website when premium processing becomes available for NIW petitions, along with any limitations on the program, but the agency has confirmed that premium processing will allow for adjudication within 45 days for an additional fee of $2,500. The program is expected to roll out before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022, and USCIS plans to hire additional staff to meet increasing demands for service by September 2023.
As with any USCIS premium processing filing, interested parties should take into consideration that the agency is required to take action on a premium processing case within the relevant adjudicatory window, in this case 45 days, and that this action may include an approval, issuance of a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), or in rare cases an outright denial. Individuals considering premium processing for a new or pending NIW should also consider that the risk of an RFE is likely to be higher during the initial rollout of premium processing to a new benefit, as USCIS allocates resources and commences training of new officers. This may be especially true for NIW petitions, which are often complex and lengthy filings.
Since processing times for NIW petitions have increased significantly in recent months, and cases can now remain pending for well over one year, the expansion of premium processing to this category will provide welcome relief to many applicants. Individuals may wish to consider premium processing particularly if there is an immigration need for an approved I-140, such as in instances of retrogression, underlying status disruptions, or age-out issues for dependent children. Decisions regarding premium processing should be made carefully and on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact your Klasko Law attorney if you have any questions.
The material contained in this article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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