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Does paying for premium processing on an H1B case mean I will find out sooner if our case was selected in the lottery?

Premium processing is an add-on service that USCIS offers for a variety of immigration cases, primarily in the employment-based visa categories. Premium processing costs an additional $1225 in USCIS filing fees.  USCIS promises to adjudicate premium processing cases in 15 calendar days of the receipt date, unless they issue a request for additional evidence.  The clock stops while the request for evidence is pending.

We often recommend that our clients pay the extra money for premium processing.  This allows for a higher quality of scrutiny from more seasoned immigration officers and results in a faster answer.

The one thing it does not do is guarantee a faster answer on the question of whether an H1B case made it through the visa lottery.  In 2015, USCIS received 223,000 applications for 85,000 visas.  This led to significant delays in the agency opening the packages and selecting the possible visa recipients through a lottery.

One of our clients who paid for premium processing recently asked why it was taking so long to hear on their case even though they paid for premium processing.  We suspect it is because their case was not selected in the lottery.  But we emphasized that getting selected is not dependent on premium processing and that paying the extra fee does not necessarily mean that you find out the lottery results any more quickly than everyone else.

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