USCIS has just announced that, starting April 3, 2017, it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months.
Who Is Affected
This applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since FY 2018 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all of this year’s H-1B cap cases. The suspension also applies to petitions that are exempt from the cap.
USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions filed before April 3, 2017.
This temporary suspension does not apply to other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.
Why is USCIS Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions
This temporary suspension is meant to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, USCIS will divert that adjudication resource to attend to regular processing H-1B cases that are nearing the 240 day mark. USCIS has been unable to process such cases timely due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.
What Should H-1B Beneficiaries Do
If you have a pending H-1B extension petition or one is about to be filed for you, whether for change of employer, same employer, or amendment, and you must have the approval within the next 6 months (e.g., for international travel), you must request premium processing, or upgrade to premium processing, by March 30th (for delivery at USCIS by March 31st).
Requesting Expedited Processing
While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request. All expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.