USCIS extends the suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions until Feb. 19, 2019

August 29, 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 temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions until Feb. 19, 2019, and will notify the public via uscis.gov before resuming premium processing for these petitions.

While H-1B premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.

Who Is Affected

The expanded temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers (excluding cap-exempt filings as noted below).

USCIS will continue premium processing of Form I-129 H-1B petitions that are not currently suspended if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before Sept. 11, 2018.

USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:

  • The petitioner filed the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before Sept. 11, 2018; and
  • USCIS did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.

Premium Processing Remains Available for Certain H-1B Petitions

The suspension does not apply to:

  1. Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
  2. Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a "Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer."
  3. This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to any other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

Requesting Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and petitioners should be prepared to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request.

Why USCIS is Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

This temporary suspension will help USCIS to reduce overall H-1B processing times by allowing USCIS to:

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

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At Litwin & Smith, we are accomplished at helping both individuals and employers meet all requirements for H visa applications. We have an extraordinarily high approval rate for our immigrant and business clients.

However, when annual caps have already been reached, we explore other visa options that enable clients to achieve their goals. For example, foreign professionals who are nationals of Chile or Singapore may qualify for an H-1B1 visa. Likewise, Australian professionals may qualify under the equivalent E-3 visa. With over fifty years of experience, we are capable of analyzing each client's situation and identifying the most effective strategy based upon the current immigration laws.

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