On February 24, 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would expand premium processing services to include change of status or extension of status petitions for E-3 nonimmigrant visa classification. This expanded premium processing option went into effect immediately.

Classification for E-3 nonimmigrant visa status applies only to Australian nationals who:

  • “[h]ave a legitimate offer of employment in the United States”;
  • “[p]ossess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials”; and
  • “[w]ill fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.”

USCIS’s premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee for expedited processing. At present, USCIS will guarantee processing of a petition within 15 calendar days for petitioners who choose to utilize the premium processing service. If an adjudication is not made within 15 calendar days, USCIS will refund the premium processing service fee and will continue processing the case on an expedited basis.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.