USCIS Strikes Again! USCIS Extends and Expands Premium Processing Suspension for H-1B Petitions
Today USCIS announced its plan to extend the current temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, which initially went into effect on April 02, 2018. Further, beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS will expand this suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. These suspensions are expected to last until February 19, 2019.
What types of cases are impacted?
H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions:
The previously announced suspension of premium processing for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) cap cases was originally expected to last until September 10, 2018, but that suspension is being extended through an estimated date of February 19, 2019.
H-1B Transfers, Amendments, and Extensions with Change in Previously Approved Employment:
The expanded temporary suspension will take effect on September 11, 2018 and applies to all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont Service Center and California Service Center. This means that Premium Processing for transfers, amendments, and extensions with change will be subject to the suspension. USCIS will continue to process premium processing requests for these cases if the petitioner properly files Form I-907 before September 11, 2018 with an associated H-1B Petition.
What types of cases are in the clear?
The suspensions do not apply to:
- Cap-exempt H-1B 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 – This only covers a small portion of employers; or
- Those H-B petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer”. Basically this covers only those petitioners filing H-1B extensions without any change.
This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to any other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.
My fear is that USCIS will receive an influx of premium processing requests prior to September 11th and will not be able to adjudicate those H-1B petitions within 15 calendar days. This will prompt USCIS to issue a refund of the premium processing fee and kick the case into regular processing anyway. If any other information is provided, I will update you immediately.