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Upgrading a Pending NIW to Premium Processing: A Step-by-Step Guide

June 19, 2024


The introduction of Premium Processing for National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions has been a significant development for many foreign nationals seeking faster adjudication of their immigration petitions. If you already have a pending NIW petition, you might be wondering how to upgrade it to Premium Processing. This guide will walk you through the process, benefits, and considerations of upgrading your pending NIW to Premium Processing.

What is Premium Processing?

Premium Processing is a service offered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that expedites the processing of certain employment-based visa petitions. For an additional fee, USCIS guarantees a 45-day processing time for eligible NIW petitions, compared to the regular processing time that can take several months or longer.

Why Upgrade to Premium Processing?

  • Speed: Expedite the decision on your NIW petition, reducing the wait time to just 45 days.
  • Certainty: Faster results provide clarity, allowing you to make timely personal and professional plans.
  • Competitive Edge: Quick approval can enhance your career prospects, especially in time-sensitive fields like technology and healthcare.
  • Eligibility for Upgrading to Premium Processing
  • Before upgrading your pending NIW petition to Premium Processing, ensure that your case meets the eligibility criteria. Generally, most NIW petitions are eligible, but you should verify your specific situation.

Steps to Upgrade Your Pending NIW Petition

  • Prepare Form I-907

    To initiate the upgrade to Premium Processing, you need to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. This form can be filed by the petitioner (you) or the attorney/representative handling your case.

  • Pay the Premium Processing Fee

    As of 2024, the fee for Premium Processing is $2,500. Check the USCIS website for the most current fee information. This fee must be paid separately from any other fees associated with your NIW petition.

  • Submit the Request

    Submit Form I-907 and the fee to the USCIS service center where your NIW petition (Form I-140) is pending. Make sure to include the receipt number of your pending NIW petition on Form I-907.

  • Include Required Documentation

    When submitting your Premium Processing request, include:

    • A copy of the receipt notice (Form I-797) for your pending NIW petition.
    • Any other documentation that supports your Premium Processing request.
  • Check for Confirmation

    After submitting your request, USCIS will send you a confirmation notice. This notice indicates that your case has been accepted for Premium Processing and that it will be processed within 45 days.

  • Monitor Your Case

    Keep an eye on your case status through the USCIS online case status tool. Premium Processing cases are handled promptly, so you should receive updates or a decision relatively quickly.

Potential Outcomes and Next Steps

  • Approval

    If your NIW petition is approved, you will receive an approval notice. You can then proceed with the next steps in your immigration process, such as adjusting your status or consular processing.

  • Request for Evidence (RFE)

    If USCIS needs more information, they may issue an RFE. Responding promptly and thoroughly to an RFE is crucial to avoid further delays.

  • Denial

    In the event of a denial, USCIS will provide a detailed explanation. You may consider reapplying or exploring other immigration options based on the reasons for denial.

Considerations Before Upgrading

  • Cost: The additional fee for Premium Processing can be a significant expense. Ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs in your situation.
  • Case Complexity: If your case is complex, rushing through Premium Processing might not allow adequate time to gather all necessary evidence.
  • Current Processing Times: If your pending NIW petition is close to being processed under regular timelines, the upgrade might not significantly expedite your case.

Conclusion

Upgrading a pending NIW petition to Premium Processing can be a strategic move to expedite your immigration journey. By understanding the steps and potential outcomes, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your personal and professional goals. If you're unsure whether upgrading is right for you, consulting with an immigration attorney can provide tailored advice and ensure that your transition to Premium Processing is smooth and effective.