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Premium Processing – Is Paying Extra Worth It?


Our clients often ask us if paying for premium processing is worth it.  We often give the lawyerly response and say, it depends. Immigration law is complex and 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 are an initial O-1 or P visa applicant and need to enter the U.S. for an event that you are participating in, you might want to file for premium processing to ensure you can receive a decision on your case and proceed with the necessary next steps in obtaining a physical visa stamp to be able to enter the U.S.
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 multiple different 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:

ACCESS!

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 fee for your case.