USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for all H-1B Petitions
Beginning April, 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. USCIS will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.
The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since Fiscal Year 2018 cap-subject petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to regular cap cases and master’s advanced degree cap cases. This suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.
While premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, USCIS will reject both forms.
USCIS will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3, 2017. Therefore, USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:
- The petitioner filed the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before April 3, 2017, and
- USCIS did not adjudicate the application within the 15-calendar-day processing period.
While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the expedite criteria. The expedite criteria includes:
• Severe financial loss to company or person;
• Emergency situation;
• Humanitarian reasons;
• Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
• Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);
• USCIS error; or
• Compelling interest of USCIS.
It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria and USCIS encourages petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request. USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of office leadership.
The temporary suspension will help USCIS to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, USCIS will be able to process long-pending applications and prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.
If you have questions on how this may affect your H-1B application or if you have questions on submitting an H-1B application, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!