Just about 1 month ago I wrote a blog post on using premium processing for EB-1 (both Outstanding Researcher and Extraordinary Ability) and EB-2 National Interest Waiver applications. Well, USCIS just put in place a new policy that may cause, at least some people, to change their minds and not use this service. Before discussing the specific policy, however, let me give a quick overview of the general policy.
Generally, when you file for I-140 it will go to either the Texas Service Center or the Nebraska service center depending on where you live. The East coast and south go to Texas Service Center and the Mid-West and West Coast go to the Nebraska Service center. This is a rough rule, and if you follow this link, you can see which states file where. If you file a case via premium processing, or upgrade a pending case from the regular process to premium processing, it would be filed to the same location depending on which state you live in. Apparently, however, the Texas Service Center has been receiving more such application than the Nebraska Service Center, so in the hopes of evening out the case load, USCIS has changed the filing location for some cases.
Starting on October 19, 2015, all I-140 cases that you wish to file Premium Processing for people living in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are to be filed at the Nebraska Service Center. As stated in my previous blog post, the Nebraska Service Center overall, seems to have a harder stance on the criteria for these applications, especially the Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researcher petitions. Therefore, this is a major consideration that now needs to be taken into account whenever someone is thinking about using the premium processing service.
There is one possible way around this, although we are not certain yet, how these cases will be handled. If the case is currently pending at the Texas Service Center and you wish to upgrade it, you would still file that Premium Processing request at the Texas Service Center. What we do not know is if these cases will be transferred or will stay at the Texas Service Center. My guess is that they will stay, as USCIS will not want to loose even a day transferring the file. However, as stated, at this point I do not know what they will do, but I will certainly update you once I find out.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.