Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CIS expands Premium Processing for I-140s

USCIS announced yesterday that, starting on 3/2/09, it will allow Premium Processing (PP) for I-140s where the beneficiary (foreign national employee) has already reached the end of her H-1B 6-year maximum stay. Premium Processing for I-140s is now allowed where the beneficiary is currently in H-1B status and about to reach the end of their 6 years. The new provision will expand PP to beneficiaries who have already passed the end of their 6 years.


Immigration law permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status past 6 years in two situations:

1) they can extend in increments of up to three years, provided they are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 and an immigrant visa is not immediately available; or

2) they can extend in increments of up to one year, provided the Form I-140 petition or underlying labor certification has been pending for at least 365 days.

Premium Processing for I-140s helps foreign nationals who cannot extend their H-1B under 2) above because the I-140 or labor certification is not pending for the required 365 days. These foreign nationals may be able to extend H-1B status if they have an approved I-140 AND their priority date is backlogged.

For a copy of yesterday's Press Release about this new provision, see here:

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