There are three clear reasons why there is a longer processing time for H-1B visa petitions this year.
The Trump administration has created an air of uncertainty for highly skilled legal immigrants. Many people experience anxiety over longer processing times for H-1B petitions this year. Here are the three main reasons why the process is taking longer than usual:
1. Deference to previously approved visas
First, USCIS no longer gives deference to prior determinations of eligibility for H-1B visa holders filing for extensions (Policy Memorandum 602-0151).
This year, USCIS has introduced a series of policies with stricter standards to apply to earlier approved petitions. The new rules make the process more trying and time-consuming. Currently, USCIS treats every extension as a new petition even when extension applications involve the same parties and include the same underlying facts as in the initial petition. Reexamining every extension request as if it were a new petition adds time to the H-1B processing for all applicants.
2. Short extensions
Second, H-1B visa applicants more and more receive increasingly shorter extensions.
Short extensions cause the system to clog because the same petitions repeatedly undergo full assessment. This extension loop forces both the government and the employers waste resources needlessly.
3. Spike in Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
Third, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of RFEs issued for H-1B visa petitions. During the third and fourth quarters of FY 2017, requests for additional evidence for H-1B visa applications more than doubled, soaring from 28,711 to 63,184.
The back and forth between USCIS and the petitioner adds time to the process for all applicants. Additionally, USCIS now has the power to automatically deny incomplete applications in an effort to reduce the time-consuming handling of RFEs. The auto-denial by USCIS is now a reality for those seeking to work in the United States.
However, there are proven methods to avoid USCIS’ sledgehammer approach. During the last H-1B cycle, OnlineVisas achieved a 100% approval rate with only one RFE. If you face the challenge of submitting additional evidence or applying for an extension, contact us today for more information and a free strategy session.