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I-140 Premium Processing Reinstated For Certain Cases

Murali Bashyam

The USCIS has announced that beginning June 16, 2008, it will accept Premium Processing Service requests for some cases of Form I-140 filed on behalf of alien workers who are nearing the end of their sixth year in H-1B nonimmigrant status.
Premium Processing Service offers 15-day processing for designated employment-based petitions and applications for a fee of $1000. During the 15-day period, USCIS will adjudicate the case, and issue either an approval, a denial, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence, OR open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. The USCIS had previously accepted Premium Processing Service in certain I-140 cases beginning in May 2006, but suspended it last summer.
This newly reinstated program is limited to Form I-140 petitions that are filed on behalf of aliens currently in H-1B nonimmigrant status whose sixth year will end within 60 days; who are only eligible for a further extension of H-1B nonimmigrant status under section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21); and who are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under section 106(a) of AC21.
Section 104(c) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to three years, provided they are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 and an immigrant visa is not immediately available. Section 106(a) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to one year, provided the Form I-140 petition or underlying labor certification has been pending for at least 365 days.

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