Expedited Processing Available for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) commenced in June 2001 expeditious handling of certain applications for nonimmigrant visas. This service, called Premium Processing, will allow those individuals seeking most nonimmigrant visas to obtain an approval on their petitions within 15 days of receipt of the application. This program is available for most I-129 nonimmigrant H-1 B, L, H-2, H-3, E, F, O, P, Q visa petitions and requires an additional fee of $1,000.

The INS will guarantee that within the 15-day period the petition will be approved unless there is a request for further evidence.

In the monthly processing report issued by the California Service Center current processing times for the affected visas, namely; L, H-2, H-3, E, F, O, P, Q visas is approximately three to four months. The benefits of Premium Processing could save the average applicant more than three months time.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued for those individuals who enter the United States as temporary visitors. Those persons seeking nonimmigrant visas that stand to gain from the premium processing include: persons seeking to enter the United States to engage in a full course of academic study, trade or invest under the terms of a treaty of commerce and navigation, training in established training programs with U.S. employers and aliens who come to the United States on temporary assignment for the same or affiliate employer for which the alien worked abroad for at least one year.

This list is not exhaustive of those persons seeking nonimmigrant visas who stand to gain from premium processing and interested parties should contact an immigration professional for further information on how this procedure can benefit you.