On October 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the suspension of premium processing which started on April 3, 2017, for all H-1B petitions will now resume for all H-1B cases.
In this announcement, USCIS indicated that premium processing will resume for H-1B extension cases and emphasized that premium processing is now back for all H-1B petitions. On September 19, USCIS resumed premium processing for FY2018 H-1B cap cases. Earlier this summer, USCIS resumed premium processing for Conrad 30 and IGA waiver H-1B cases, as well as H-1B petitions filed by H-1B cap exempt employers.
Premium processing can be used for initial petitions that will be filed on or after October 3, as well as those that remain pending with USCIS and were not initially filed with premium processing. Those cases that remain pending must now be “upgraded” to premium processing. Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service and the premium processing filing fee will need to be part of these upgrade requests to be processed with premium processing. With premium processing, USCIS will process (approve, deny, send request for additional evidence) within 15 days of receipt of the premium processing filing request. With the number of RFEs being issued on H-1B cap and other H-1B cases, employers should think about whether or not to file an upgrade to premium processing. Although some cases will need the upgrade to premium processing, other cases may benefit by USCIS not “rushing” to an answer in 15 days.