Premium processing of H-1B petitions to be temporarily halted as of April 3

Filed under: News |

By Joy Waltemath

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that as of April 3, 2017, it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. The suspension may last up to six months. In the interim, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. USCIS said it will provide public notice prior to resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.

The Premium Processing Service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications. USCIS guarantees 15 calendar-day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use the service, with a refund if the agency falls short, even though the relating case will continue to receive expedited processing.

Suspension application. The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3. Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, the suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master’s advanced degree cap exemption. The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.

While premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, USCIS will reject both forms.

The agency will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3. Therefore, USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if the petitioner filed the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before April 3, 2017, and USCIS did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.

The temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

Expedited processing. While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage is met. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that at least one of the expedite criteria is met. USCIS encourages petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support expedite requests.

The agency will review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. Requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

Reason for temporary suspension. USCIS said that the temporary suspension will help the agency reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, USCIS will be able to process long-pending petitions, which it has currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years. The suspension will also permit USCIS to prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.

Source:: Premium processing of H-1B petitions to be temporarily halted as of April 3


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