In March 2018, the United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions that are subject to the H-1B CAP. On August 28, 2018, USCIS announced an extension of the temporary suspension and expanded it to include certain additional H-1B petitions beginning on September 11, 2018. USCIS claims that the suspension and expansion will help the Service reduce overall H-1B processing times.

Who Is Affected?

  • The expanded suspension now applies to all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers.
  • H-1B petitions that were subject to the H-1B CAP for Fiscal Year 2019 will continue to be unable to file for Premium Processing until at least February 19, 2019.
  • H-1B petitions that are not currently suspended that had a properly filed Form I-907 will be processed with Premium Processing until September 11, 2018.
  • Under two criteria, USCIS will refund the Premium Processing fee:
    • If the petitioner filed Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before September 11, 2018 and
    • USCIS did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.

Who Isn’t Affected?

  • H-1B CAP exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the petitioner is CAP exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying CAP exempt institution, entity, or organization.
  • H-1B petitions that are filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by a petitioner requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” with a concurrent request to:
    • Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted; or
    • Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status.
  • Any other nonimmigrant classifications that are filed on Form I-129.

Expedite H-1B Option

While Premium Processing is temporarily suspended, petitioners may request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria listed on USCIS’s Expedite Criteria webpage. All expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by USCIS.

Conclusion

In addition to H-1B CAP subject petitions for Fiscal Year 2019, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 Requests for Premium Processing Service filed with a Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker that is affected by this suspension beginning on September 11, 2018. In the event that a petitioner submits a check that combines the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected by USCIS.

Please do not hesitate to contact our offices for any questions or concerns you may have regarding this matter.