U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that premium processing will resume Jan. 28 for all H-1B cap petitions for fiscal year 2019.

Key points:

  • Premium processing for H-1B cap petitions was suspended on April 2, 2018, the first day of filing season for the current fiscal year, and has been unavailable since.
  • Beginning Monday, all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed since April, including those eligible for the advanced-degree exemption, may be updated to request premium processing.

Background: 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, 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 Feb. 19, 2019.

BAL Analysis: The resumption of premium processing is good news for employers, especially those concerned that the lengthy processing times would require them to put their H-1B employees on unpaid leave. Employers should assess which employees need their H-1B petitions to be expedited and request premium processing for those cases as soon as possible. USCIS is reminding petitioners who request premium processing that if their petition was subject to a request for evidence (RFE), they must include any responses to the RFE with their premium processing request.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2019 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@bal.com.