With the sun setting fast on Fiscal Year 2017 at the end of this month, USCIS announced on Monday, September 18 that Premium Processing will once again be available for all pending petitions subject to the 65,000 annual cap. In addition, premium processing has resumed for the 20,000 annual petitions reserved for workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher graduate level degree.
Importantly, this only resumes 15-day processing for pending applications and does not attach to new H-1Bs yet to be filed. Applicants who have a pending petition should request the petitioning employer to pay the additional $1,225 to have premium processing apply to the case. The cashing of the check does not guarantee, however, that USCIS will in fact adjudicate the petition within the 15-day period. If a final answer has not been received by the end of the 15-day premium processing period, USCIS will issue a refund of the fee and continue the processing of the petition on an expedited basis.
USCIS has also announced the intent to resume premium processing for all cap-exempt H-1B categories as agency workloads permit. Until that day comes, USCIS will still review requests for expedited processing on a case-by-case basis if the applicant or petitioner meets all of the criteria. More information on expedited criteria is available here.
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