The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have decided to increase the fee for visa applicants requesting premium processing for certain employment-based petitions.
According to a press release of the US agency issued on October 30, the fee will be increased by about 2.1%, in accordance with the Imitation and Nationality Act.
“The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, reflects the full amount of inflation from the implementation of the premium processing fee in June 2001 through August 2019 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U),” the press release reads.
USCIS also points out that the last time it increased the fee was in 2018.
Premium processing is an optional service currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request expedited processing of these forms within 15 days if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees. If the answer is delayed, the USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition. The fee cannot be waived.
The move to increase the premium-processing fee comes at a time when the Trump administration is making several changes to the visa application procedures, including making it harder to get a visa fee waiver.
Only last week, the USCIS announced that it has decided to remove the means-tested benefit criteria, which was previously used as a determining tool whether an individual was eligible to be exempt from paying the visa fee or biometric services fee when applying for a US visa. According to the decision, applicants may still be eligible and request a fee waiver if they can prove that their yearly household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or they can provide evidence of financial hardship to pay these fees.
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