NewsFlash! Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for Most H1B Cases, Effective 11 Sep 2018

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this afternoon that, effective September 11, 2018, petitioners will temporarily be unable to request premium processing for most types of H1B petitions. This restriction is expected to remain in place until February 19, 2019.

As of September 11th, the suspension on requesting premium processing will apply to most H1B petitions filed at the California Service Center (CSC) or the Vermont Service Center (VSC). The suspension will NOT apply to:

  1. Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the CSC because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
  2. Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:
    1. Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted. (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current form I-129); or
    2. Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c. on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current form I-129).

The suspension of premium processing for H1B cap cases (i.e. H1B petitions filed in the lottery), which went into effect on April 2, 2018, remains in place. This suspension is also expected to be lifted on February 19, 2019.

Premium processing requests for H1B petitions – not including cap cases – submitted to the USCIS prior to September 11, 2018 will be honored. Also, this suspension of premium-processing service does not apply to other nonimmigrant classifications.

The USCIS notes that, during the period when premium processing is not available, stakeholders will be permitted to make expedite requests, assuming the expedite criteria is met. Note, however, that the USCIS generally will not approve an expedite request unless a compelling reason, backed by strong supporting evidence, is submitted. More details on expedite requests is available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Guidance on Customer Service (15.Sep.2014).

If any new information is provided, the details will be posted on MurthyDotCom. Subscribe to the free MurthyBulletin to have future updates delivered to your inbox.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.