The Biden Administration has announced plans to expand the premium processing of some of the important categories of green card applicants and some categories of visas, particularly those related to training foreign students.
The expansion of these categories would be carried out in phases beginning with the premium processing of EB-1 and EB-2 applications of Green cards.
This will be in addition to all previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 multinational executive and manager classification, or E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a National Interest Waiver (NIW), US Citizenship and Immigration Services said.
USCIS said this is part of its efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens on the overall legal immigration system.
“In March, we will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization,” USCIS said.
“In April, we will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765,” it said.
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It appears USCIS has taken these decisions on the basis of recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), made last year by one of its Indian American members, Ajay Jain Bhutoria.
The presidential commission had said that historically, premium processing has only been available to petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and to certain employment-based immigrant visa petitioners filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
“We recommend expanding premium processing services, giving applicants the option to pay between $2,500 to expedite their applications,” it said.
This measure should go into effect in 60 days by August 2022, and USCIS should follow a phased approach to implement premium processing for the following cases: a. Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, it said.
Among those recommended were EB-1 Multinational Executive or Manager, EB-2 Member of Professions Holding an Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability seeking a National Interest Waiver (NIW), I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
“It is recommended USCIS Expand premium processing to additional employment-based green card applications, all work permit petitions and temporary immigration status extension requests, allowing applicants to pay $2,500 to have their cases adjudicated within 45 days in a phased approach,” recommended the presidential advisory commission.