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I-140 Premium Processing - Update

Implementation of premium processing for I-140 immigrant petitions will begin no sooner than May 2002. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will provide at least thirty days notice before such processing is available.

On March 1, 2002, The Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") announced that it will be implementing premium processing for I-140 immigrant petitions this year. Through premium processing, the petitioning employer pays an additional $1000 filing fee. In return, the INS will process an I-140 petition within fifteen (15) calendar days.

Employers are advised that the 15-day period begins when the $1000 fee and processing request are received by the INS and ends once the INS mails the notice. The notice may be a notice of approval, request for evidence, intent to deny or notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.

If the notice requires the submission of additional evidence or of a response to a notice of intent to deny, a new 15-day period will begin upon the delivery to the INS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

The INS plans to phase in I-140 premium processing by category. The categories are yet to be announced but it is anticipated that I-140 petitions based on Labor Certifications will be the first category of cases implemented. Premium processing for certain nonimmigrant petitions is already available and was implemented last summer.

Premium processing service is not available for I-485 applications to adjust to permanent resident status.

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