U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that starting April 2, 2018, premium processing will be suspended for Fiscal Year 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions, including petitions requesting an exemption for beneficiaries in positions requiring a U.S. Master’s degree or higher. USCIS indicated that the suspension may last until September 10, 2018.
Premium Processing Suspended
Premium Processing is a filing option for certain visa petitions that requires an additional government filing fee of $1,225. With premium processing USCIS guarantees it will take action on the petition within 15 days of USCIS receipt of the premium processing request. With standard processing times up to 8-12 months for some H-1B filings, many employers request premium processing in order to receive a prompt decision. USCIS stated that the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions will allow them to reduce overall H-1B processing times by focusing on long-pending petitions and prioritizing review of H-1B extensions nearing the 240-day mark.
Impacted H-1B Petitions
This suspension will affect all cap-subject H-1B petitions filed under the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 quota, which can be filed beginning on Monday, April 2, 2018, and must be received by USCIS no later than Friday, April 6, 2018.
Although USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B Petitions beginning in April of last year, this temporary suspension is currently limited to cap-subject petitions and does not restrict the premium processing of other H-1B petitions, such as extensions, amendments, and new H-1B filings for cap-exempt institutions such as institutions of higher education and affiliated institutions.