On October 1, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 8337, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act ("the Act"). In addition to funding the government through December 11, 2020, the Act also addresses U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) funding shortfalls by giving USCIS access to Premium Processing funds to pay for operational expenses. Premium Processing service requires USCIS to adjudicate a petition or an application within 15 calendar days of receipt for an additional fee of $1,440. The Act also authorizes the expansion of Premium Processing to Form I-765 (employment authorization), Form I-539 (application to change/extend status), EB-1 petitions for multinational managers/executives, and other petitions/applications not previously afforded Premium Processing service.
The Act does, however, also authorize an increase in the Premium Processing fee (up to $2,500 for certain types of petitions/applications) in addition to other substantive changes to Premium Processing service, including potentially adding a requirement that "all prerequisites for adjudication are received" by USCIS before the Premium Processing clock starts. The changes authorized by the Act will not be effective immediately and must first be implemented by USCIS.
While H.R. 8337's potential expansion of Premium Processing service is welcome, the increased fee and other changes to Premium Processing may create new challenges for petitioners/applicants.