Despite Earlier Indications, USCIS Announces Suspension of Premium Processing for all Cap Subject H-1B Petitions
USCIS just announced that it will SUSPEND Premium Processing for all Cap Subject H-1B petitions filed in the lottery for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019). This is expected to last until September 10, 2018.
Previously, USCIS indicated that Premium Processing for Cap Subject H-1B petitions would only be delayed, meaning that Premium Processing would still be available, but the 15 day Premium Processing clock would not begin until a later specified date. But today the following statement was released by USCIS,
“Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.
During this temporary suspension, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms. When we resume premium processing, petitioners may file a Form I-907 for FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions that remain pending.
Requesting Expedited Processing
While premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request. We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and will grant requests at the discretion of USCIS office leadership.
Why We Are Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for These Petitions
This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:
- Process long-pending petitions, which we have 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; and
- Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.”