USCIS has extended and expanded the suspension of premium processing for certain H-1B cases. This suspension affects Fiscal Year 2019 pending cap cases and, starting from September 11, 2018, most changes of employer, changes of status, and amendment applications. This suspension expected to remain in effect until February 19, 2019.

What this means is that employers will not be able to request premium processing service for pending cap cases until February 19, 2019. USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B changes of employer, non-cap subject changes of status and amendments through September 10, 2018. The first suspension was announced on March 20, 2018 and was originally intended to end on September 10, 2018. USCIS says that this extension and expansion is due additional long pending cases and will allow them to give priority to same employer H-1B extensions that have the 240-day automatic extension of work authorization.

Premium processing is still accepted for the below type of cases:

  • Extensions of H-1B status with the same employer and no change in circumstances, filed at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center.
  • H-1B petitions filed by a qualifying cap-exempt employer or for beneficiaries who will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt organization. This includes institutions of higher education and their related or affiliated nonprofit organizations, nonprofit research organizations and governmental research organizations.
  • Other case types eligible for premium processing, including L-1, O-1 and I-140 petitions.​

In urgent situations, employers can request faster processing if a case meets the longstanding expedite criteria, but employers must be aware that expedited services is granted at USCIS’ discretion and are issued vary rarely: for emergencies, humanitarian situations, in cases of severe financial loss to the employer or the foreign national, and a few other very limited circumstances. To learn more about the H-1B visa and its requirements, please click here.

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