U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced that, as of April 2, 2018, it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all “cap-subject” Petitions for H-1B filed under the “cap” for the up-coming federal fiscal year (“FY2019″). The suspension of premium processing include cases filed under both the “Master’s cap” and the “Regular cap.”
The suspension of premium processing does not impact cases that are not filed under the H-1B cap for FY2019. This includes extensions, transfers, amendments and cases which fall under the various exemptions from the cap, including cases filed by institutions of higher education, cases filed by non-profits associated with institutions of higher education and cases filed for positions which are “located at” cap-exempt locations.
By way of background, Premium Processing is a service offered by USCIS to accelerate the review of some kinds of cases. Premium Processing requires an additional filing fee of $1,225. Eligible cases can be filed with the Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, and a check for $1,225. It is also possible to “upgrade” eligible cases after they are filed. Not all applications are eligible for premium processing. For a complete list of case types eligible for premium processing, click here.
Premium Processing guarantees that within 15-calendar-days action will be taken on a Petition. This can include an approval, a request for evidence (RFE), a notice of intent to deny (NOID), or a denial. If USCIS issues an RFE or NOID, the Premium Processing clock will stop. Once USCIS receives a response to the RFE or NOID, the Premium Processing clock will resume.
For now, Premium Processing has been suspended, but only as to new filings under the H-1B cap for FY2019. The temporary suspension is expected to end not later than September 10, 2018. Once the suspension of premium processing is lifted, any applicants with pending FY2019 H-1B petitions will be able to file the Form I-907 and a filing fee of $1,225 to request an upgrade of the case from the regular processing queue to the premium processing queue. For more information about the temporary suspension of Premium Processing click here.