On October 3, 2017, USCIS resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions. As we previously reported, on April 3, 2017, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing at the beginning of H-1B filing season.
USCIS states they had, “previously resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap, petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.” Premium processing will now be available for all H-1B visa types.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.
Premium processing services are requested by filing a form I-907 and paying a $1,225 fee. This guarantees 15-calendar-day processing of certain employment-based petitions including the H-1B. H-B petitions affected by the premium processing suspensions are those filed on or After April 3, 2017.
USCIS stated two reasons for the suspension. Foremost, it allowed them to reduce overall H-1B processing times. Back in April USCIS claimed that the suspension would allow for the processing of “long-pending petitions”. Secondly, the suspension was said to, “prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.”
Premium processing facilitates employers by allowing them to receive early visa decisions for business planning. Moreover, it allows beneficiaries to start work sooner. Lack of premium processing affects H-1B workers filing an extension as that their 240-day extension may run out before their application is processed.