Premium Processing for the H1B Visa

Premium Processing for the H1B Visa is a service provided by the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) that offers 15 day processing time.

The process involves submitting a completed and signed USCIS form I-907 and paying  $1,225 payment to Department of Homeland Security.

Department of Homeland Security guarantees a 15 calendar day processing time or they will refund the $1,225 Premium Processing Service fee.

The 15 calendar day period will begin when USCIS receives the petition.

Click here to see a list of other USCIS petitions that allow premium processing.

USCIS will issue an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within the 15 calendar day period.

If the petition or application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, a new 15 calendar day period will begin upon receipt by USCIS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

Who can pay the $1,225 USCIS fee for Premium Processing fee for the H1B Visa?:

It depends who you ask. DOL says only the employer can pay the Premium Processing fee. USCIS says the beneficiary can pay the Premium Processing fee. Unfortunately this lack of clear guidance sometimes occurs in employment based immigration.

Our view is this: The safe harbor approach is for the Employer to pay the Premium Processing fee. However if  the beneficiary pays the Premium Processing fee for the H1B Visa and it does not reduce his/her effective wage below the prevailing wage indicated on the LCA it should be fine.

According the U.S. Department of Labor:

Fact Sheet #62H: What are the rules concerning deductions from an H-1B worker’s pay?

This fact sheet provides general information concerning illegal wage deductions under the H-1B program.

An H-1B worker, whether through payroll deduction or otherwise, can never be required to pay the following:

A penalty (as defined by state law) for the worker’s failure to complete the full employment period (INA § 212(n)(2)(C)(vi)(I));

  1. Any part of the statutory training and processing fee imposed by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (INA § 212(n)(2)(C)(vi)(II));
  2. Any part of the statutory $500 fraud protection and detection fee imposed by USCIS (INA § 214(c)(12)(A)); and/or
  3. Any deduction for the employer’s business expenses that would reduce an H-1B worker’s pay below the required wage rate (20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9)), including:
  • Any expenses, including attorney fees, directly related to the filing of the Labor Condition Application (Form ETA 9035 and/or ETA 9035E) (20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9)(ii));
  • Any expenses, including attorney fees and the premium processing fee (INA § 286(u)) directly related to the filing of the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129/129W) (20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9)(ii) and (iii)(C));
  • Tools and equipment (20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9)(iii)(C)); and
  • Travel expenses while on employer’s business (20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9)(ii) and (iii)(C)).

According to USCIS:

“The petitioner, attorney or representative, or beneficiary may pay the Premium Processing Service fee,…”

Related Links:
H1B Visa Cap / Quota for FY 2018
H-1B Visa Overview
H-1B Visa Renewal / Extension
H-1B Visa Transfer
Amended H-1B Visa
New H-1B Visa, Cap Exempt
H-1B Visa for Entrepreneurs
H-1B Visa for Teachers
H-1B Visa Attorney Fee
H-1B Visa Complete Do it Yourself Kit

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