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Premium Processing for Nonimmigrant Work Visas Cuts Wait Time at INS

  • September 28, 2001

The Immigration and Naturalization Service has introduced a special premium processing service to allow employers to expedite obtaining nonimmigrant visas in important cases. The INS introduced the special program due to increasingly long delays in processing times caused partially by budgetary constraints.

The highly anticipated premium processing program went into effect on June 1, 2001, and the INS is currently accepting applications for almost all nonimmigrant visas, including H-1B, TN, L-1, E-1/E-2, and R visas. For an additional $1,000 fee, INS will guarantee to issue an approval, denial, or request for additional evidence within 15 calendar days after the petition is filed.

To date, practitioners have been reporting good results with the program, as INS has apparently been meeting the 15 day deadline for nearly all cases. The INS has established a separate address and telephone number for use only with premium processing cases to allow for enhanced customer service and tracking of case processing. INS also has begun accepting applications to convert cases currently pending under standard processing to premium processing.

INS has stated that H-1B premium processing may be suspended if and when Fiscal Year 2001's cap of 195,000 visas grows near (INS reported that 138,000 H-1B cap cases had been processed as of July 25, 2001, and that approximately 39,000 more were currently in processing.) The fiscal year ran through September 30, 2001.

©2001 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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