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USCIS to Suspend Premium Processing for all FY 2019 H-1B Cap Filings

By March 22, 2018May 19th, 2021H-1B and E-3 Visa, Immigration
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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced on March 20, 2018 that, starting from April 2, 2018, premium processing for all fiscal year 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, will be suspended. USCIS stated that this suspension is so that the agency can prioritize previous applications that are reaching the 240 days pending mark. Premium processing is an expedited service offered by USCIS where employers can pay an extra premium processing fee to have the H-1B petition adjudicated within 15 calendar days. The current premium processing fee is $1,225. Without premium processing, it is difficult to determine how long it takes to process an application. Depending on the case and filing location, the typical duration for processing an application can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months.

During the suspension, USCIS will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing filed with any cap-subject petition. If the premium processing fee is combined in a single check with other H-1B cap fees, USCIS will reject the petition package. 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. This suspension can be lifted at USCIS’ discretion when the existing backlog lessens, at which time new applications and applications that have already been submitted can submit a supplemental Form I-907. To learn more about the H-1B visa and its requirements, please click here.

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