Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the resumption of premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. Premium processing is also available for the 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher degree. This comes as a relief to many who were hoping to begin employment in early October when the fiscal year begins.
When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions. USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap.
In addition to today’s announcement, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.
USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. Ellis Porter will continue to keep you posted as details emerge for additional classes of premium cases. Contact your Ellis Porter attorney to determine if premium processing is advisable for you.