On Aug 29 2018 by William A. Stock

CLIENT ALERT: USCIS Extends the Suspension of Premium Processing for Certain H-1B Petitions Effective September 11

On Tuesday, August 28, USCIS announced the extension and expansion of the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, effective September 11, 2018. The expansion will now include certain additional H-1B petitions.

Who Is and Who Isn’t Affected

The expansion temporarily applies to H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers, except for cap-exempt filings. This means the expansion now applies to transfer petitions and amended petitions.

Premium processing remains available to:

  • Cap-exempt petitions filed at the California Service Center (petitions filed by universities, nonprofit and government research organizations, and affiliated entities)
  • Petitions filed at the Nebraska Service Center (petitions requesting a continuation without change for the same employer)

Expedited processing can still be requested, if the petitioner meets at least one of the Expedite Criteria with supporting evidence.

USCIS’s announcement states that it is suspending premium processing for these categories due to workload concerns. Based on reports from employers, an increasing number of employees were insisting on premium processing for petitions due to the increase in denials and RFEs, as well as USCIS’s “no deference” policy, assertion of its ability to deny cases without RFEs, and its recent initiative to start deportation proceedings upon denial of nonimmigrant petitions.  These policy changes have increased demand for premium processing beyond USCIS’s ability to meet their 15-day turnaround time and also process “regular” petitions in a timely fashion. 

Please contact your Klasko Law attorney with any questions concerning this client alert.