By Peregrine

On 18 September 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had resumed Premium Processing for all H-1B Petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 H-1B cap of 65,000 visas.

USCIS has also resumed Premium Processing for the annual 20,000 additional H-1B petitions that are intended for individuals with a US master’s degree or higher educational degree that are sponsored for H-1B status.  It is important to note that the H-1B “cap” petitions are to sponsor individuals for employment beginning 1 October 2017.

Background

USCIS suspended Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions starting 3 April 2017, to reduce overall H-1B processing times.

Previously, USCIS resumed Premium Processing for H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the H-1B cap.

Premium Processing for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay, remains suspended.  USCIS plans to resume Premium Processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as permitted by USCIS workloads.

However, remaining H-1B petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific USCIS criteria (such as severe financial loss to the company or person). USCIS review​s all​ expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership. ​

What is Premium Processing?

The premium processing service permits employers to request USCIS to adjudicate H-1B petitions within 15 calendar days by submitting Form I-907, a Request for Premium Processing Service and an additional filing fee of $1225.

Action Items

  • Employers intending to apply for H-1B status for their employees should consult a US immigration specialist for the latest on the Premium Processing suspension.