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USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for New H-1B Petitions

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has once again announced that starting April 2 2018 premium processing for new, cap-subject H-1B visa petitions will be temporarily suspended. With premium processing, employers can pay an optional USCIS filing fee to guarantee a response on their petition within 15 days. This temporary suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able request premium processing for new, cap-subject H-1B visa cases.

This suspension of premium processing (similar to the one last year) applies only to new H-1B petitions filed, generally by for-profit companies that are subject to the 85,000 annual H-1B visa cap. Meaning, this will apply to all petitions filed for the FY19 H-1B regular cap and master’s advanced degree cap exemption (the “master’s cap”) and any of these petitions filed with a request for premium processing will be rejected.

The premium processing suspension will not, however, apply to petitions that may be cap-exempt (i.e. H-1B workers who will work for or at a university or affiliated nonprofit or research institutes), nor will it apply to H-1B extension or change of employer petitions. This temporary suspension of premium processing does NOT apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129, either.

Even though premium processing is temporarily suspended, employers may still submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. The reason for the temporary suspension will allow USCIS to reduce overall H-1B processing times.

Jason Finkelman
Jason is dedicated to providing practical and innovative strategies to domestic and foreign businesses and for foreign individuals in a variety of employment-based and family-based immigration matters. He has assisted hundreds of companies, investors, business-owners, executives, professionals, skilled workers, students, and families with obtaining employment visas, lawful permanent residence ("green cards") and U.S. citizenship. Jason has worked with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to petition for family-based visas, and has worked across a number of industries including high-tech, semiconductor, healthcare, higher education, energy, oil and gas, import/export, research, video game, as well as professional athletics, music, and entertainment to secure employment-based visas. Additionally, Jason regularly counsels clients on immigration enforcement issues and Form I-9 workforce compliance. He has worked with companies large and small to audit their Forms I-9 and prepare comprehensive I-9 and E-Verify compliance programs.

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