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Immigration and Naturalization Service's Premium Processing Program

Report No. 03-14
February 2003
Office of the Inspector General



Program Expansion of Premium Processing

At the time of the program's inception, the INS anticipated it would expand its Premium Processing to include the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, yet did not include the related revenue projections in its proposal to Congress or in its early program planning. Focus group meetings conducted with potential users six months before the inception of the program addressed the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, as well as the program's expansion to include the Form I-140. However, all initial program data, such as budget and revenue projections, staffing allocations, and standard operating procedures were based solely on the Form I-129. The INS did not begin including the Form I-140 in budget projections until May 2002.

The Forms I-140 were expected to become eligible for Premium Processing in May 2002, and were to be phased in by classification.27 However, the date was changed several times, and eventually postponed indefinitely because of the focus on the implementation of the IBIS check procedures. If Premium Processing had been expanded to include the Forms I-140 on May 1, 2002 as initially planned, program revenue to date would be approximately 39 percent higher. Based on the INS's initial projections, the inclusion of the Forms I-140 in Premium Processing was expected to generate an additional $45 million in FY 2002. The INS now estimates that the inclusion of the Forms I-140 in Premium Processing will more than double program revenues in FY 2003 and beyond.


  1. The Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is an application for permanent residence in the United States based on employment. There are several classifications within the Form I-140. The initial timeline for implementing Premium Processing to the Forms I-140 is as follows:

    • May 1, 2002: Schedule A Group 1, Registered Nurse; Schedule A Group 2 Physical Therapist; E13, Multinational Executive/Manager; EW3, Other Workers (less than two years training or work experience).
    • July 1, 2002: E31, Skilled worker (two years education, training or work experience); E32, Professional (Baccalaureate Degree or foreign equivalent and beneficiary is professional).
    • September 1, 2002: NIW, National Interest Waiver; I11, Extraordinary Ability.
    • November 1, 2002: E12, Outstanding Professor/Researcher; E21, Advanced Degree/Exceptional Ability.