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USCIS is Extending and Expanding Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

Earlier this year, USCIS previously announced that premium processing for FY 2019 cap-subject petitions would be suspended until September 10, 2018. USCIS has accepted premium processing requests for H-1B petitions not subject to the FY 2019 cap. Today, USCIS has announced that beginning September 11, 2018, this temporary suspension will now include certain additional H-1B petitions. USCIS expects for the suspension to last until February 19, 2019 and will notify the public via its website when premium processing will resume.

While H-1B premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.

Premium Processing will still be available for the following petitions:

  • Cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center either because employer is cap exempt or because Beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
  • Petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:
    • Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129); or
    • Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status (Box c. on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129).

USCIS has stated the following as to why it is temporarily suspending Premium Processing:

“This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times by allowing us to:

  • Process long-pending petitions, which we have been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and premium processing requests over the past few months;
  • Be responsive to petitions with time-sensitive start dates; and
  • Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.”