USCIS To Suspend Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Starting April 3
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that starting April 3, 2017, the agency will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. The suspension may last up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker that requests H-1B nonimmigrant classification. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the I-907 and I-129 H-1B fees, USCIS said it will reject both forms.
USCIS said the temporary suspension will help the agency to reduce overall H-1B processing times by allowing it to process long-pending petitions, which the agency has been unable to process due to a high volume of incoming petitions and a significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years, and by allowing it to prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension-of-status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.
The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since FY 2018 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY 2018 H-1B regular cap and master's advanced-degree cap exemption (the master's cap). The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.
USCIS said it will continue to premium-process I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated I-907 before April 3, 2017. USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:
- The petitioner filed the I-907 for an H-1B petition before April 3, 2017, and
- USCIS does not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.
This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on an I-129.
Click here for the announcement.