Many of our clients are aware of the difference in processing times for the form I-140 between the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) and Texas Service Center (TSC). The NSC has had a history of slower processing times than the TSC. So, our clients are often interested in knowing with which service center their I-140 will be filed, how long it will take for their I-140 to be processed, and if it is possible to avoid filing with NSC.
The answer to where your I-140 will be filed depends upon whether you will be filing hard copies of the I-140 or whether you will be submitting it via e-filing and whether or not you will be requesting premium processing. If you are filing hard copies of the I-140, you are directed by USCIS to send it to TSC. But, we have found that cases under the jurisdiction of NSC paper-filed with TSC will then be re-routed to NSC. If you file the I-140 with an I-907, Request for Premium Processing, the service center for filing depends upon the state in which the beneficiary will work and the jurisdiction of the service centers. If the beneficiary will work in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming, the I-140 should be filed with the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). If the beneficiary will work in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia, the I-140 should be filed with the Texas Service Center (TSC). If you e-file the I-140, the USCIS will automatically route it for processing to either the NSC or TSC, depending upon the jurisdiction of the service centers, as described above. So, it does not appear to be possible to avoid the NSC by paper-filing the I-140.
On April 3, 2013, the USCIS posted an update with processing time information for the NSC and TSC. As of February 28, 2013, with regard to I-140s, the NSC processing times depended upon the category the I-140, whereas the processing timeframes for TSC were listed as October 4, 2012, or five months, for all categories. The NSC processing timeframe varied by category from four months to six and one half months. For example, the NSC was processing I-140 petitions filed under the category of EB-2 NIW that had been filed on August 16, 2012, whereas the TSC’s processing timeframe for these petitions was October 4, 2012. However, the processing time for I-140 petitions filed under the category of EB-1A was nearly identical- the processing time for NSC was October 2, 2012 and October 4, 2012 for TSC. The NSC actually had a one month shorter processing timeframe than TSC for petitions filed under the EB-1 category of Outstanding Professor or Researcher. The NSC’s processing timeframe was also one month shorter for petitions filed under the EB-1 category of Multinational executive or manager.
In summary, if you will be working in a state that falls under the jurisdiction of the NSC, you may not be able to avoid having your case processed there. But, depending upon the category you file under, your petition may actually be processed faster by NSC, than if it had been filed with TSC.