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USCIS to Increase Premium Processing Fees Starting October 19; Program Expansions Still Pending

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the premium processing fee for H-1B, L-1  and certain immigrant visa petitions to $2,500, from $1,440, on Monday, October 19, 2020, according to an announcement issued today. Petitions postmarked on or after that date must include the new fee. 

The premium processing fee for H-2B and R-1 petitions will increase to $1,500 on the same day.

The fee increase was part of a stopgap spending measure signed into law on September 30, 2020. The  legislation also significantly expanded the premium processing program to include many other employment-based immigrant applications and petitions, though USCIS has not yet announced when it will  implement that expansion. 

Future Expansion of USCIS Premium Processing Program

The stopgap legislation requires USCIS to expand the premium processing program to include applications for employment authorization and applications to change or extend status for the dependents of H-1B, L-1 and other principal nonimmigrant categories. The law also gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to designate other case types for premium service. DHS has provided no indication of when this expansion will take place. Until further notice, premium processing will remain limited to certain I-129 nonimmigrant worker petitions, including H, L, O, P and R petitions, and certain Form I-140 immigrant worker petitions. 

What this means

Case types already accepted under the premium processing program must include the higher processing fee of $2,500 if postmarked on or after October 19. DHS has not indicated when it will implement the other elements of the expanded program. Once the premium processing expansion is in effect, it is expected to generate significant new revenue for the agency. 

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