USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions Starting April 3, 2017
With a goal of reducing the processing times for all H-1B petitions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for H-1B petitions filed (i.e. received by USCIS) on or after April 3, 2017. Premium processing will not be suspended for other nonimmigrant visa categories that are eligible for premium processing, or for H-1B petitions filed (i.e. received by USCIS) before April 3, 2017. This suspension may last up to six months. USCIS will issue a new public notice before it resumes premium processing for H-1B petitions.
- The student’s H-1B petition and request for change of status has been approved;
- The student seeks readmission before his or her H-1B employment begins (normally at the beginning of the fiscal year, i.e., October 1); and
- The student has both a valid F-1 visa and I-20 documents and is otherwise admissible.
In past years, we used premium processing for people who needed Cap-Gap coverage and who expected to travel over the summer. This will not be possible this year if the suspension of premium processing remains in place.
- Maintenance of Status and Work Authorization
- Driver’s License Renewal
In the past, many people who have changed from one H-1B employer to another have opted to wait until the new petition is approved before leaving their current job. In these situations, employers typically filed the new H-1B petitions with premium processing. While the suspension of premium processing remains in effect, H-1B workers who change jobs must either ask the new employer to wait for the processing of the normally-filed H-1B petition or change jobs under the portability rules before the change of employer H-1B petition is approved.
Even though premium processing has been temporarily suspended, USCIS will continue its policy of allowing H-1B petitioners to request expedited processing under some limited circumstances:
- Severe financial loss to company or person;
- Emergency situation;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
- Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS.
USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and the requests are granted at its discretion.
If you have questions about the USCIS suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions, please contact your immigration attorney at McCown & Evans.