28 August 2018

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

 

 

 



Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted August 28, 2018 by KrystalAlanis in category "H-1B", "Immigration News Updates

43 COMMENTS :

  1. By Pradeep on

    Hi,
    My H1b extension is pending and now I am planning to move to another company and file a new petition. Would like to know which I94 will hold good for me if the new petition gets approved first and the H1b extension got approved after 1 or 2 weeks.

    Reply
  2. By vijaykumar on

    Hi,

    My I94 is valid till Jun 25 2019 and applied Amendment last year. Amendment is approved till May 30 2018 and then my employer filled H1b extension on May 14 2018 as Regular process in California location.

    If my case is not adjudicated by the 240 day mark, since my I94 is valid can i able to continue work here or leave the country?

    If above question answer is no, since we filled the extension before September 11 2018 am i eligible to upgrade premium?. Fyi, “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” .

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hello,

      If your H-1B extension was filed with your same employer prior to the expiration of your I-94 (May 30, 2018), you may continue to work up to 240 days after your I-94 expires. If the extension was actually filed as no change in previously approved employment with the same employer, it would have been filed in Nebraska. If that’s the case, premium processing would still be available. In order to further assist, I’d need additional case specifics. I recommend contacting an immigration attorney. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

      Reply
  3. By Venkat on

    Hello Krystal,

    My H1b extension was filed on March15th 2018 on Regular process and after that my I94 expired on March16th 2018, I can see the case is still received state only from California center. we missed to upgrade to premium process before 11th September 2018.
    now I came to know that I can work only 240 days after my I94 expiration.

    Could you please suggest is there any chance i can upgrade it premium or proceed further on my case without exit the country.

    Thanks,
    Venkat

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Good morning,

      If your H-1B extension was filed with your same employer prior to the expiration of your I-94, you may continue to work up to 240 days after your I-94 expires. If the case is not adjudicated by the 240 day mark, you can remain in the U.S., but you have to stop working. There may be other options to extend work authorization beyond the 240 mark if the H-1B petition is not adjudicated by then, but I would have to review the specific facts to your case. I recommend speaking to an immigration attorney on this matter before making any final decisions. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

      Reply
      1. By Venkat on

        Thank you very much Crystal, I will ask my employer to contact your team since your team is the attorney to our employer.

        Thanks,
        Venkat

        Reply
  4. By RFR on

    Hello Krystal – My H1B transfer was applied in PREMIUM on 30 Aug 2018 and got the receipt on same same day dated 30 Sep 2018. I received an RFE on 12th Sep 2018. New employer is working on RFE documents. No my question is – Will my case again considered as PREMIUM after my new employer submitted the required RFE documents? Or will it considered as NORMAL way? please let me know, thanks

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Good morning! Yes, as long as the H-1B transfer was initially filed in premium prior to the September 11th cutoff date, then the RFE response will also be processed in premium. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. By RFR on

        thank you so much Krystal ! I have one more clarification for you – My RFE documents for H1B transfer premium is still not submitted by new company. I think they are still working on it. My 2 questions are 1) Can i tell the new employer (company B) that I am not willing to join (if decided to continue with current company) and cancel/withdraw my transfer application? If yes, can the new employer do something on my current petition (company A petition) like cancel ? 2) If the transfer is approved, can i still continue work for current company (company A)? If yes, what are the implications that i might face or what bad can company B can do on me? Please help me to understand this, thanks so much in-advance !!

        Reply
        1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

          Hi,

          Thank you for your question. As this is a complex scenario, I would really need to see all relevant documentation to adequately advise you. I would recommend contacting an immigration attorney to assist you with this.

          Reply
          1. By RFR on

            Thanks Krystal. My transfer is approved now after they submitted the RFE docs. But now my mind is changed, can i work for company A? If yes, what legal actions can company B take on me? Please advice. thanks

  5. By Raj on

    Hi
    My case for transfer was sent to VERMONT location on 27th august. On 10th my attorney discovered the package is returned without any reason, they sent it back requesting for premium Processing on 11th. The receipt number is yet to be grnerated. It seems there is a delay at this location. Do You think the agency will accept this as premium?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Good morning Raj,

      If the request wasn’t filed before September 11th, it will not be accepted for premium if the case was filed as a transfer. If the premium processing request was filed prior to September 11th, it should still be premium processed.

      Reply
  6. By Kasi on

    Hi!!! My H1b extension was denied in June 2018 and I am currently in India. My employer is applying for a cap exempt H1B for the same client but for a different role. Unfortunately they won’t be able to file it before September 11 2018. My processing center has always been Vermont and my client is in Atlanta,GA. So will it be possible for me to apply premium processing? Really appreacite your help!!

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi,

      H-1B extensions filed by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” will always be filed in Nebraska. If this is the situation for your case, then you will not be subject to the premium processing suspension.

      H-1B petitions filed by an employer requesting a change in previously approved employment, a change of employer (transfer), or an amendment will be filed with either the California or Vermont Service Centers, depending on your company’s location.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. By Kasi on

        Thank you for your response.

        Can you please tell me if a change in role with the same client and same employer would be considered as a change in employment ? If this is the case, will I eligible for premium processing after September 11?

        Reply
        1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

          Hi,

          I would need more specifics on the case to be able to answer properly. There are different factors to consider when deciding whether an amendment or change in employment is required (which would currently impact filing in premium) or whether you can file the case as a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” so that the case is not subject to the premium processing suspension.

          Reply
      2. By Amit on

        Hi,
        I am in same boat. My extenaion+amendment got denied and i came back to india as I94 was expired. My employer is filling my cap exempt extension for same client with same SOC code as in denied petition. I had different SOC code last approved petition.
        So just wanted to check if I am eligible for primium processing from Nebraska center

        Reply
        1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

          Hi,

          I would need more specifics on the case to be able to answer properly. There are different factors to consider when deciding whether an amendment is required (which would currently impact filing in premium) or whether you can file the case as a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” so that the case is not subject to the premium processing suspension.

          Reply
  7. By Mel on

    Hi, I am on cap gap I20 until sept 30 and have received a H1 b rfe. Employer will respond to the Rfe by sept 15. With premium processing suspended until feb 2019 do you suggest applying for a second masters after sept 30. Classes begin oct 15 for cpt.

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi,

      This is very case specific, but generally speaking, you can enroll in another Master’s program, but I do not recommend “day 1” CPT. Note that issues regarding unlawful presence arise if your H-1B is denied because of a status violation even if enrolled in another Master’s program. If that happens, you should speak with a qualified immigration attorney to go over your case immediately so a proper course of action can be taken.

      Reply
  8. By Pradeep on

    Hi,
    My spouse had applied for h4ead on june 2018 and not received it yet. I am going to file my h1b extension without any amendment along with h4 extension via premium processing. How can I update the documents for h4ead?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi Pradeep,

      Although you cannot necessarily update the already pending H-4 EAD application, you can file a new H-4 EAD application together with the H-1B and H-4 extensions.

      Reply
  9. By java on

    Will all un-amended H1B extension applications be serviced under Nebraska USCIS center even if the employer and job site is in California?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi,

      H-1B extensions filed by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” will always be filed in Nebraska. H-1B petitions filed by an employer requesting a change in previously approved employment, a change of employer (transfer), or an amendment will be filed with either the California or Vermont Service Centers.

      Reply
  10. By Akshay on

    My H1b has been picked in the lottery this year and got RFE. Response of the RFE received by USCIS on 11 Aug 2018. Am I eligible to apply for premium processing ??

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi,

      Unfortunately the premium processing suspension for H-1B Cap-Subject petitions is still in place and will continue until February 19, 2019.

      Reply
  11. By Anuj Kumar on

    In case of Amendment for location change, would this also get impact

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Yes, if an amendment is filed, the premium processing suspension will apply as of September 11th, 2018.

      Reply
  12. By Raj on

    If H1B filled in premium with H4 and H4 ead last week. All file numbers recieved from Nebraska.
    Any issue. H1B extension applied with approved ai-140

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi Raj,

      There shouldn’t be any issues with the H-1B premium processing in this case. Normally if the H4 and H4 EAD are filed together with the H-1B in premium, they should all be processed together.

      Reply
  13. By Pradeep on

    Will this affect H1B extensions under same employer to be filed at Vermont Service center?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi Pradeep,

      If the extension is required to be filed with the Vermont or California Service Centers, the suspension would apply as of 09/11/18 – (example: transfer + extension, amendment + extension, extension with change).

      If your employer is filing an extension with no change in previously approved employment, the petition would be filed with the Nebraska Service Center and the suspension would not apply.

      Reply
      1. By Ramesh on

        I am working in California and my employer is headquartered here. My H1B extension is coming up – so which service center will my unamended application go to? California or Nebraska? If california, can I file premium?

        2.5 years ago, the extension was filed with California Service Center.

        Reply
        1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

          Hi,

          H-1B extensions filed by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” will always be filed in Nebraska. H-1B petitions filed by an employer requesting a change in previously approved employment, a change of employer (transfer), or an amendment will be filed with either the California or Vermont Service Centers.

          Currently, even if your employer is required to file your case with the California or Vermont Service Centers, they can still premium process prior to September 11, 2018.

          Reply
          1. By Ramesh on

            Thanks you very much for that Information Krystal! Does a simple title change like “Software Engineer” to a “Senior Software Engineer” falls under the “without change” clause – with no material change in employer, duties, location etc.

          2. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

            Hi Ramesh,

            You’re welcome! It really depends on your attorney’s strategy for your case.

  14. By CHUCK on

    My RFE was responded in premium with USCIS received date of 14th Aug, today 28th August being the 15th day..I have not heard anything as of 5.25pm EST..With this news of suspension of PP do you think my case has chances that it will be moved to Regular processing?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hi,

      It is possible, but I would follow up tomorrow with USCIS if the 15th day has been reached. Also, sometimes the system doesn’t update quickly so it may be that USCIS has issued a response to the RFE, but the notification has not been updated yet.

      Reply
      1. By Jitin Kulkarni on

        Hi Krystal,

        Not sure how Chuck’s company responded to RFE in premium, as my company informed me of extension on suspension on premium processing till February 2019.

        Reply
        1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

          Hi,

          His case must not have been a cap subject H-1B petition. All cap-subject H-1B petitions are subject to the premium processing suspension as of April 2018.

          Also, it looks like the RFE was filed in premium prior to September 11th, which is the effective date of the expansion of the premium processing suspension. The expansion applies to H-1B petitions filed by an employer requesting a change in previously approved employment, a change of employer (transfer), or an amendment that will require the petition to be filed with either the California or Vermont Service Centers, depending on the company’s location.

          H-1B extensions filed by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” will always be filed in Nebraska and will not be subject to the premium processing suspension.

          I hope this helps!

          Reply
  15. By VAS on

    so if I am doing H1B Trasnfer( not a fresh one existing one) will this eligible under premium Processing or regular processing?

    Reply
    1. By KrystalAlanis (Post author) on

      Hello,

      If an employer is filing a transfer on your behalf, premium processing will only be available before September 11, 2018. After that date, premium processing for transfers is not expected to be available again until February 19, 2019.

      Reply

LEAVE A COMMENT