Premium Processing Resumes for Some H-1B Petitions

Authored by Diane E. Metzger

Sep 22, 2017

On Sept. 18, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memo stating that it will resume accepting requests for Premium Processing (i.e., expedited case processing) for H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions submitted for fiscal year 2018.

In July, USCIS had also resumed Premium Processing for H-1B petitions filed under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as for certain H-1B Cap-exempt petitions, such as petitions filed by institutions of higher education, certain nonprofit research organizations, governmental research organizations, etc.

Notably, Premium Processing remains suspended for all other remaining types of H-1B petitions, such as H-1B extension requests and H-1B Change of Employer petitions. USCIS plans to resume Premium Processing for all other remaining classifications of H-1B petitions “when agency workloads permit.”

If an H-1B petition must be expedited but Premium Processing is not yet available for your petition, under certain circumstances an expedite request may be filed with USCIS and may be granted (without payment of the premium processing fee) if specific agency criteria is met. However, the USCIS officer has full discretion regarding whether sufficient merit exists to grant such expedite request.

When filing with Premium Processing, USCIS is obligated to process the petition (i.e., issue an approval, denial or request for additional information) within 15 days of receipt of the Premium Processing request. Without Premium Processing, regular processing of H-1B cases can often take 5-6 months, sometimes longer depending on USCIS caseloads. USCIS charges an additional fee of $1,225 for such Premium Processing.

USCIS will issue further updates when it resumes accepting additional types of H-1B Petitions for Premium Processing.

If you have any questions regarding the H-1B visa or any other immigration matter, please contact Diane Metzger.

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