On September 18, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is resuming 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 U.S. 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 October 1, 2017.
The H-1B petition is filed by employers to sponsor individuals for H-1B status provided that such employment is for professional and/or specialty occupations such as information technology, academic research, and accounting. When an H-1B petitioner requests the USCIS’ Premium Processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If USCIS does not meet the 5-calendar day processing time, USCIS will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the H-1B petition. This service is only available for pending H-1B petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions within the first five business days of April 2017 to meet the FY 2018 cap.
Previously, USCIS has 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 temporarily 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 only if they meet the specific USCIS criteria (such as severe financial loss to the company or person). USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.
USCIS will provide additional notifications when they begin to resume Premium Processing for other H-1B petitions not mentioned above.
If you have any questions about H-1B Premium Processing or immigration matters, please contact your Maggio Kattar attorney.