Today U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) published a final rule increasing by 15% the required filing fee for requests for premium processing. The current premium processing fee is $1,225, and the new fee will be $1,410. The effective date is October 1, 2018. Requests for premium processing postmarked on or after October 1, 2018, must include the higher filing fee of $1,410.
With premium processing, the CIS guarantees action on the petition within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request with the required fee. If the CIS is unable to take action on the petition within the 15 days, the CIS is required to refund the filing fee, though refunds often take many months to be processed.
Premium processing is currently suspended for H-1B cap petitions, and the CIS just recently announced that beginning September 11, 2018, premium processing will also be suspended for H-1B Amendment and Change of Employer petitions. The suspension is expected to continue until February 19, 2019.
Given the volume of premium processing upgrade requests which might be expected prior to the fee increase, and prior to the suspension of premium processing for H-1B Amendment and Change of Employer petitions, clients should be aware of the prospect that the CIS may not be able to act on the their petitions within the 15-day time frame, and the refund of filing fee could take many months.
Petitioners seeking to upgrade a petition to premium processing should contact their Foster immigration attorney immediately and should be prepared to remit payment of the prescribed fee prior to filing the request.