On March 3rd, 2017, USCIS announced that beginning April 3rd, 2017 they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions.
Premium processing services is normally requested by filing form I-907 and paying a $1,225 filing fee. It guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing of certain employment-based petitions.
The suspension is expected to last up to 6 months. Affected petitions will be those filed on or after April 3rd, 2017. During the suspension, petitioners will not be able to file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. I-907 forms filed before April 3rd, 2017 for H-1B petitions will continue to be processed.
While USCIS has suspended premium processing in the past in order to clear backlogs in petitions, the current suspension is much broader than in the 16 year history of the premium processing program, as all H-1B visa petition types are affected.
USCIS claims that temporarily suspending premium processing this time around will allow them to reduce overall H-1B processing times. They state that delaying the processing of incoming petitions requiring premium processing will allow them to process “long-pending petitions”.
In addition, USCIS says eliminating premium processing will allow them to, “prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.” Some impacts of the changes to H-1B processing include the following:
Although premium processing is not available, petitioners can request their petition be expedited on a case-by-case basis. Examples of qualifying criteria for an expedited petition include:
The temporary suspension does not apply to other non-immigrant visas such as the TN or the L-1, and any pending H-1B application can be upgraded to premium processing once the suspension is lifted.
About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas.com., a revolutionary Immigration platform and global Immigration network. Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-310-4333 office or 405-821-5959 mobile.