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USICS Will Extend and Expand Suspension of Premium Processing

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USICS Will Extend and Expand Suspension of Premium Processing

August 28, 2018

The USCIS announced today that it will continue the suspension of premium processing for cap-subject cases and furthermore, will add other H-1B petitions to the suspension.  The USCIS expects the suspension of premium processing to last until February 19, 2019.  This means that fiscal year cap cases will not be able to convert to premium processing on September 11, 2018 as previously expected.  In addition, starting September 11, 2018 requests to change H-1B employer, amend petitions (for job or location changes) and other types of H-1B petitions will not be able to request premium processing. 

Exceptions

The following types of H-1B petitions will continue to be eligible for premium processing:

  • Cap-exempt petitions filed by a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; and
  • Petitions requesting a “continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer.”

In addition, employers requesting other types of nonimmigrant visa classification (L-1, for example) will continue to be able to request premium processing. 

Why

The USCIS says it is suspending premium processing in order to:

  • Process long-pending petitions, which they 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. 

Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, employers may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the USCIS criteria. The petitioner must demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and petitioners should be prepared to submit documentary evidence to support the expedite request.

Expedite requests are granted at the discretion of the USCIS.

Before September 11

Weaver Schlenger LLP recommends that employers file H-1B petitions (for non-cap cases) with requests for premium processing if possible before September 11, 2018 when the expanded suspension goes into effect. After that, unless the H-1B petition falls into one of the exceptions listed above, the Form I-907 request for premium processing will be rejected.  If an employer submits one combined check for both the Form I-129 filing fee and the Form I-907 premium processing fee, both requests will be rejected. 

If you have any questions about this update, please contact Weaver Schlenger LLP. 

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