Premium Processing Now Available for E-3 Specialty Occupation I-129 Petitions
On February 24, 2021, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) expanded the availability of premium processing services (15-day adjudication) to include E-3 nonimmigrant petitions.
The E-3 nonimmigrant classification is reserved for Australian citizens working in a specialty occupation on a temporary basis in the U.S. A position is generally considered to be a specialty occupation if it is one for which a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent degree in a particular field of study is normally required.
Premium Processing is a benefit that the USCIS offers to petitioners to expedite the adjudication of certain petitions if an additional filing fee is paid. The current filing fee for premium processing service is $2,500. Under standard adjudication, E-3 petitions filed with the USCIS are currently taking on average between 6 to 8 months. With Premium Processing, the E-3 petition will generally be adjudicated within 15 calendar days.
There are two ways for an individual to obtain E-3 status in the U.S. If the Australian national is outside the U.S., he or she may apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant visa at the U.S. consulate abroad. If the Australian national is already inside the U.S. in a valid nonimmigrant status, the petitioner may file a Form I-129 petition requesting either a change to, or extension of, E-3 status with the USCIS. Thus, it is only those E-3 petitions that can be filed with the USCIS that are eligible for Premium Processing.
Foster LLP will continue to monitor U.S. immigration filing processes and procedures and will make future updates available as appropriate via our firm website at www.fosterglobal.com.