New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Waiver Of Expedited Processing Fee For O Visa Petitions

Author: New York Visa Attorney Alena Shautsova

To receive an O visa, a US employer or agent has to submit a petition on behalf of the O visa / status beneficiary. Usually, USCIS considers such petitions within 4-6 months, and recently there were serious delays in adjudication of O petitions.

O status / visa petitioners have an option to "expedited" the decision by paying special fee for it. The government’s fee for premium processing is $1,225 (unless filed by a nonprofit employer). However, USCIS has the authority to discern whether or not to charge an organization a premium processing fee and waive it.

There must be just cause for the usage of the premium processing service and the request for a fee waiver, other than just wanting a guaranteed faster answer and not having the funds to cover the premium processing fee. One or more of the following requirements must be met for a fee waiver of premium processing to have a chance for USCIS to utilize its discretion:

  • Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the US
  • US department of Defense or national interest situation*
  • Humanitarian situation
  • Extreme emergent situation
  • Severe financial loss to company or individual
  • Compelling interest of USCIS
  • USCIS Error

When requesting a fee waiver for items C through G it is pertinent to discuss the situation with your attorney. The situation must be drastic, more than just the initial loss of the processing fee. For example, a for profit organization requesting a fee waiver that will be donating a portion of its profits to charity will have its fee waiver looked at more favorably in conjunction with any item C through G.

* This request must come from an official US Government entity specifically stating that the delay will be detrimental to our government.

20 January 2016
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