There is a major backlog of petitions and applications in the USCIS. Current processing times for common USCIS forms can take several months. For example, the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status can take between 20 and 50 months to process, depending on the location. Other common forms take similar amounts of time.Â
To mitigate this, the USCIS has published a set of new goals for processing times, as shown in the chart below.
One way the USCIS aims to implement these new times is by expanding premium processing. Premium processing is a program in which applicants for certain USCIS petitions can pay a higher fee to have their application processed more quickly. Currently, premium processing is only available for two forms: Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.Â
However, this expansion would phase premium processing systems into Form I-539,Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The USCIS will begin by expanding premium processing to Form I-140, specifically for petitioners requesting EB-1 (multinational executive) or EB-2 (national interest waiver) immigrant classification. The USCIS will enact this expansion in compliance with Congressional standards that mandate that expansions of premium processing eligibility should not increase the processing time for regular processing.
The USCIS is taking several steps to alleviate the backlog of petitions and lower processing times, such as expanding premium processing eligibility to more forms. Premium processing eligibility, in which a petitioner can pay $2,500 to have their case evaluated within 45 days, is currently limited to two forms, but this expansion would phase this eligibility into more forms, taking effect over the rest of the fiscal year 2022.
Migration Resource Center views each case as unique; therefore, it is essential to consult with legal counsel before starting your case as some other options may be available. Of course, you may always contact us to begin your consultation. Please call us at (646) 609-8805 or use the link to schedule a free immigration consultation.
By: Tom De Kesel, MRC Immigration Attorney & Ishika Bhasin â€“ April 21, 2022
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