H-1B Premium Processing Resumes January 28, 2019 for FY2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that premium processing resumed January 28, 2019 for all H-1B cap petitions filed for FY2019 (i.e. filed in April 2018). Beginning on January 28, 2019, all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed since April 1, 2018, including those eligible for the advanced-degree exemption, may be “upgraded” to request premium processing. This does not impact H-1B change of employer petitions, which still are not eligible for premium processing service, or H-1B cap petitions that will be filed for FY2020 in April 2019.

Premium processing allows petitioners to request faster service for an additional government fee. USCIS must respond within 15 days or refund the fee. The agency announced the suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap petitions just before filing season began, and in August 2018, extended the suspension and expanded its scope to encompass nearly all H-1B petitions. At that time, USCIS had indicated that the suspension would last until February 19, 2019.

Employers should assess which employees need their H-1B petitions to be expedited and should request premium processing for those cases as soon as possible. USCIS is reminding petitioners who request premium processing that if the petition was subject to a request for evidence (RFE), they must include any responses to the RFE with their premium processing upgrade request.