Premium Processing Temporarily Suspended for H-1B Extension Petitions
Beginning May 26, 2015, the USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015. This means that premium processing requests must be filed by Thursday, May 21st to be received by Friday, May 22nd, since May 25th is Memorial Day and USCIS will be closed. Petitions filed under premium processing require an additional $1,225 USCIS government filing fee and are typically adjudicated within 15 days of CIS receipt of the request for premium processing. The suspension will also affect “change of employer” petitions that request an additional period of H-1B time. The suspension of premium processing should not affect “new” H-1B petitions requesting a change of status or consular notification or H-1B “extension” petitions that are currently pending with the premium processing unit.
The USCIS has confirmed that if the agency is unable to adjudicate an H-1B petition filed via premium processing before May 26th within the 15 day period, the premium processing filing fee will be returned and the petition will be subject to normal processing.
Because the CIS currently reports a two-month adjudication time for H-1B extensions filed under normal processing, H-1B extension petitions that have not yet been filed are unlikely to be approved for a few months. The inability to file H-1B extension petitions under premium processing may affect foreign nationals with plans to travel internationally over the summer and renew their H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. consulate abroad. Employers or employees with questions regarding the ability to travel internationally should contact their Foster immigration attorney to discuss potential travel implications.
USCIS stated that the suspension of premium processing for H-1B extension petitions was necessary in order to dedicate resources to the implementation of employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses.
As always, Foster will continue to monitor changes in immigration process and procedures and will provide future updates via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.