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Premium Processing – Is Paying Extra Worth It?


Premium Processing Immigration

The Need for Speed in Immigration Cases

Our clients often ask us if paying $1225 for premium processing is worth it.  We often give the lawyerly response and say, it depends. Immigration law is so complex that no two cases are the same. Sometimes paying extra for expediting a case is worth it and at other times it’s not. Here are some of our thoughts on the subject:
  • If you file an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability case under premium processing, you are going to increase your chances of receiving an Request for Evidence (RFE).  Why?  All the USCIS officer has to do within 15 days is approve the case or issue an RFE.  Once they do that, they do not have to return the $1225 USCIS filing fee.  Since EB-1 cases are quite complex, sometimes officers simply cannot review the case within 15 days given their case load.  Thus, they automatically issue an RFE to ‘buy time.’  Of course, that is not always the case, but it’s something to consider when deciding whether or not to use the premium processing program.
  • Are you on L1 status and filing an extension shortly before your expiration date?  You might want to file the case under premium processing.  The USCIS is increasingly scrutinizing L1 cases, so you want to know quickly what is going to happen to your status.  That way, you can plan your future without being rushed to do it.
  • If you are outside the US and want your prospective employer to file a TN application with the USCIS instead of applying directly at the port-of-entry, file the case under the premium processing program. You’ll probably want a quick decision on the case.
  • Are you an Information Technology professional and your employer is filing an H-1B extension, amendment or transfer?  Don’t fear the premium processing program.  Just document the case well!

As you can tell, there’s isn’t an easy answer to this question.   There are hundreds of differnet scenarios to consider when using premium processing, the least of which is simply timing. However, we think it’s worth it in many cases based on one word:


Filing a case under premium processing provides you, your employer and/or attorney the opportunity to call or email the USCIS officer handling the case.  This is not available in regularly-processed cases.

We can’t tell you how valuable this access can be in getting complex cases approved.  It’s certainly something to think about when deciding whether or not to pay an extra $1225 for your case.


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