H-1B visa premium processing resumes

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap which has been set at 65,000 visas.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap which has been set at 65,000 visas.

Premium processing has also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.

So here is how it works.

When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS will guarantee a 15-day processing time and if that 15-day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with  the expedite processing of the application.

But this service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received many of them in April already.

In addition to the resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed by 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, however, 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.

In the meantime, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet one or more of the specific agency criteria which include the following:

  • Severe financial loss to company or person
  • Emergency situation
  • Humanitarian reasons
  • Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States
  • Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.)
  • USCIS error
  • Compelling interest of USCIS

USCIS will review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and will be granted by the office leadership.

More announcements are to be made for when USCIS will begin accepting premium processing for other H-1B petitions which are not subject to the FY 2018 cap.

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