US Stopgap Funding Approved: Immigration Programs Get Temporarily Extended, USCIS Premium Processing Program Expands

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By: Gladys Gervacio

President Trump signed a law providing stopgap funding to the US government through December 11, 2020 while Congress continues to debate the fiscal year 2021 federal budget. The measure also expands the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) premium processing program to include many new types of immigrant and nonimmigrant cases and increases the cost of this service to $2,500 from $1,440. The law takes effect immediately, but USCIS’s implementation may take a few weeks.

The measure also provides funding to immigration programs that were due to expire, including E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program, and other programs, through December 11, 2020.

USCIS Premium Processing Service Expansion

Previously, only certain I-129 nonimmigrant worker petitions and Form I-140 immigrant worker petitions were eligible for premium processing. Under the new expansion, premium processing is expected to be available to the following:

Petition/Application Types

Timeline for Processing

Premium Processing Fee

Form I-129 Nonimmigrant Worker

15 calendar days (current)


Most Forms I-140 for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 petitions

15 calendar days (current)


Form I-140 for EB-1 (Multinational Manager), EB-2 (National Interest Waiver), EB-2 (Physician)

45 days

$2,500 or less

Form I-539 Change/Extension of Status: to F, J, and M, and for E, H, L, O P, and R dependents

30 days

$1,750 or less

Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

30 days

$1,500 or less

Under the new law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) many only suspend premium processing when the agency has a “significant number” of such requests. DHS is also required to provide petitioners with “direct and reliable” premium processing case status information and the capability to communicate with USCIS premium processing units.

This law aims to help generate extra funding for USCIS, which faced potential employee furloughs earlier this year due to budget shortfalls.


While the new law takes effect immediately, USCIS is likely to have a delay in implementation. We expect that USCIS will make an announcement once expanded premium processing is available. Our attorneys will closely monitor the situation and issue an alert once more information is available.


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