USCIS has temporarily suspended the premium processing service for all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. This includes extension and amendment petitions Premium processing is a USCIS program that provides for a 15-day initial review for a $1,225 additional filing fee. USCIS has indicated that this suspension may last for up to six months.
USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B petitions if the premium processing request was properly filed before April 3, 2017. Other types of petitions eligible for premium processing may continue to utilize the expedited service.
According to USCIS, this suspension of premium processing is being implemented in order to help reduce overall H-1B processing times, which are currently running close to a full year in some instances.
USCIS claims that by suspending premium processing, they will be able to focus on processing long-pending petitions that have gone unprocessed because of the large numbers of premium processing requests in the last few years.
USCIS will also prioritize processing of H-1B extension petitions that are nearing 240 days pending, since the automatic extension of employment authorization only lasts for 240 days after the prior petition expiration.
During the premium processing suspension, petitioners may still request expedited processing if they meet certain criteria. USCIS may expedite a petition on a case by case basis if it meets certain criteria.
This unavailability of premium processing will present significant challenges, as lengthy H-1B processing times affect employees' ability to travel and obtain new visas, renew driver's licenses, and in some cases, begin working.
We are advising our clients to file all H-1B petitions as early as possible, preferably a full six months before expiration to minimize disruption and other inconveniences.
Should you have any questions, please contact Anu Attorney Professional Law Group or email us at Anu@anuattorney.com
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