USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions to Reduce Delays

Express News

By USCIS|Updated: September 03, 2018

USCIS 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 short-term suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. We expect these suspensions will last until Feb. 19, 2019, and will inform the general public by means of uscis.gov before resuming premium processing for these petitions.

While H-1B premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907, Ask For Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Type I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If a petitioner sends one combined look for the Kind I-907 and Type I‑129 H-1B charges, both forms will be declined.

Who Is Affected
The expanded short-term suspension applies to all H-1B petitions submitted at the Vermont and California Service Centers (leaving out cap-exempt filings as noted listed below).

The previously announced suspension of premium processing for 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions was originally slated to last until Sept. 10, 2018, however that suspension is being extended through a projected date of Feb. 19, 2019.

We will continue premium processing of Kind I-129 H-1B petitions that are not presently suspended if the petitioner properly submitted an associated Kind I-907 prior to Sept. 11, 2018. For that reason, we will refund the premium processing charge if:

The petitioner submitted the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before Sept. 11, 2018; and
We did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing duration.
Premium Processing Stays Offered for Certain H-1B Petitions
The suspension does not apply to:

Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the company is cap exempt or due to the fact that the beneficiary will be used at a certifying cap exempt organization, entity, or organization; or
Those petitions filed solely at the Nebraska Service Center by a company requesting a “Continuation of formerly approved employment without change with the same company” (Box b. on Part 2, Concern 2, Page 2 of the existing Type I-129) with a concurrent request to:
Alert the workplace in Part 4 so each beneficiary can be or obtain a visa confessed. (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the existing Type I-129); or
Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c. on Part 2, Concern 4, Page 2 of the existing Type I-129).
This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other nonimmigrant categories filed on Type I-129.

Requesting Expedited Processing
While premium processing is suspended, petitioners might submit a demand to speed up an H-1B petition if they satisfy the requirements on the Expedite Criteria webpage. The petitioner should demonstrate that they meet at least one of the accelerate requirements, and petitioners need to be prepared to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request.

We evaluate all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of the workplace leadership.

Why We Are Momentarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions
This short-lived suspension will assist us to decrease overall H-1B processing times by enabling us to:

Process long-pending petitions, which we have actually been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and premium processing demands over the past few months;
Be responsive to petitions with time-sensitive start dates; and
Focus on adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.