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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap Cases

Yesterday, USCIS announced that they have resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap. The fiscal year 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing has also been resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.

H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research and accounting. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If the 15-day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. The resumed premium processing service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the fiscal year 2018 cap.

In addition to resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.

USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H-1B petitions not subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. However, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific agency criteria. USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

USCIS will release future announcements once it begins to accept premium processing for other H-1B petitions.

If you have questions on applying for H-1B status, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!