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Update on Premium Processing for 2018/19 H-1B Cap Petitions

UPDATE – August 28, 2018

USCIS announced is extending the previously-announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap‐subject H‐1B petitions and, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H‐1B petitions. USCIS expects these suspensions to last until February 19, 2019.

The expanded temporary suspension applies to all H‐1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers, except:

  • Cap‐exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
  • Petitions filed at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer”

USCIS hopes this temporary suspension will help it to reduce overall H‐1B processing times.

More employers are choosing to use premium processing for work-related visa petitions. Critics of current immigration policies claim that the increase in denials and requests for additional evidence have contributed to delays in USCIS processing. USCIS says the high volume of incoming premium processing requests has made it difficult to process long-pending petitions. The agency hopes to use the temporary suspension of premium processing to allow it to prioritize those H-1B extension-of-status cases that have been waiting for nearly eight months to be adjudicated.

While premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject such requests filed with any cap-subject H-1B petition for a nonimmigrant worker (Form I-129). The agency warns that during the temporary suspension, if a petitioner files forms I-907 and I-129 and uses a single check to pay for both premium processing and the standard filing fee, it will reject both applications.

USCIS will continue its premium processing service for those H-1B petitions not currently suspended if the petitioner also properly files an associated Form I-907 by Sept. 11, 2018.  The temporary suspension of the premium processing service does not affect other nonimmigrant classifications that are filed with USCIS on Form I-129.

 

March 20, 2018

USCIS announced it will temporarily suspend premium processing for 2018/19 H-1B cap petitions.  Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018.

During this time, USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap, and will will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.

This temporary suspension will help USCIS reduce overall H-1B processing times.

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