Premium processing is a service provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows applicants to pay an additional fee to expedite the processing of their applications. This service is particularly useful for those who need their applications to be processed quickly, such as those applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). Premium processing became available to those seeking an EB-2 NIW on January 30, 2023.
The National Interest Waiver is a program that allows certain individuals to bypass the standard labor certification process and apply directly for permanent residency. This program is designed for individuals who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or those who have advanced degrees in those fields. Applicants must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States.
Premium processing for National Interest Waiver applicants allows them to receive a decision on their application within 45 calendar days, instead of the standard processing time, which can take several months. This expedited processing can be crucial for individuals who have job offers or other time-sensitive matters that require them to obtain permanent residency quickly.
To apply for premium processing, applicants must submit Form I-907, along with the appropriate fee. The USCIS will then issue a receipt notice and begin processing the application within 45 calendar days. If the USCIS needs additional information or documentation, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE).
It is important to note that premium processing does not guarantee approval of the National Interest Waiver petition. It only guarantees that the USCIS will "act" on the case within 45 calendar days of receiving the petition, whether by making a decision or by issuing an RFE or NOID. If the application is denied, the USCIS will not refund the premium processing fee.
In conclusion, premium processing can be a valuable service for National Interest Waiver applicants who need their applications processed quickly. The service can help applicants avoid delays and provide them with the certainty they need to make important decisions about their future. However, it is important to note that premium processing does not guarantee approval and applicants should still ensure that they meet all eligibility requirements before applying. Additionally, even with an approval, one can only apply for adjustment of status if their priority date is current on the visa bulletin.
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