USCIS Extends & Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for Some H-1B Petitions to Reduce Delays

The USCIS continues to slow down US visa processing with its most recent announcement regarding the processing of cap-subject H-1B visas. On August 28th, 2018 the USCIS on its website issued a notification that it will extend the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers and, on September 11, 2018, the initial extension will continue through an “estimated” date of February 19, 2019.

As indicated in the announcement, premium processing is still available for certain H-1B petitions including:

  1. Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center 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 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).

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to any other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

Premium processing is a service available only for certain employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitions filed with the USCIS. The service costs an additional $1,225 in addition to the regular petition fee for the particular case and it ensures that the USCIS reviews the petition within 15 calendar days. If the USCIS issues a Request for Additional Evidence or “RFE”, the 15 day processing time will resume from when the additional evidence is submitted.

In general, someone must have a job offer and an employer who wishes to sponsor them for a US non-immigrant visa. If you have a US work visa enquiry, please call our office at +44(0)20 7092 6830 or send an email to [email protected]