In March of 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions subject to the 2019 cap. The reason for the suspension was to provide an opportunity for the agency to work through a backlog of petitions and thereby reduce overall H-1B processing times. Many H-1Bs had gone unprocessed due to the high volume of petitions USCIS was receiving, especially premium processing requests. In August of 2018, USCIS extended its suspension of premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions even further. And, beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS expanded its temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions.
Things changed, however, on February 19, 2019: USCIS resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018. The temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for H-1B petitions that were filed on or after December 22, 2018. Now that the suspension has been lifted, USCIS warns that petitioners seeking premium processing service may receive a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition. In that case, the petitioner must submit the premium processing request, along with a copy of your transfer notice, to the service center now handling the petition. When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If no action is taken within the 15-calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioners premium processing service fees and continues with expedited processing of the petition.
USCIS plans to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H-1B petitions as agency workload permits and will notify the public through its website (uscis.gov) when it has begun accepting processing for other categories of H-1B petitions.
If you are interested in applying for H-1B status or learning more about this category, please contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!