Substantial Increase in Premium Processing Fees while Prescribed Scope Expansions are Yet to be Implemented
USCIS recently announced that the premium processing fee for L-1, H1B, and some other immigrant visa petitions increased from $1440 to $2500 effective on October 19, 2020. For I-129 forms filed for H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status, the new premium processing fee was determined as $1500.Previously it was 1440 as well. Hence, the petitions submitted on or after October 19 will be subjected to this new fee adjustment regulation.
This increase is related to the stopgap spending measure passed into law on September 30, 2020. The law also expanded the premium processing program's scope to a significant number of employment-based immigrant applications and relevant petitions. However, at present, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hasn't released an announcement regarding when and how these expansions would be implemented.
The stopgap spending measure's scope expansion in premium processing services encapsulates applications regarding employment authorization, status change, and extension for dependents of primary types of nonimmigrant categories such as H-1B and L-1. Furthermore, the new regulation enables the Department of Homeland Security to nominate other cases within the premium processing service. DHS also has the authority to suspend premium processing services if the number of premium processing applications increases to the extent that fulfilling these requests in the specified time period becomes impossible.