USCIS Reinstates Premium Processing for Petitions Still Pending from Last Year’s H-1B Cap

The USCIS has announced today that starting Monday, January 28, 2019, it will resume premium processing for pending H-1B cap-subject petitions filed in last year’s H-1B lottery. Today’s announcement, however, does not indicate when the USCIS will resume premium processing for all other H-1B categories. In September 2018, the USCIS expanded the suspension of premium processing on cap-subject H-1B petitions to other H-1B categories, including H-1B change of employer and H-1B amendment petitions. Despite previous statements by USCIS indicating that it would resume premium processing for cap-subject H-1B and other H-1B categories by February 19, 2019, today’s announcement makes no reference to that anticipated reinstatement date. The announcement only states that USCIS plans to resume premium processing for the other H-1B categories “as agency workloads permit.” The USCIS announcement also does not provide any indication as to whether the USCIS will allow premium processing for the upcoming H-1B FY2020 cap filing season that starts on April 1, 2019. What does this mean for our clients? It is estimated that there may be several thousand FY2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions from last year’s cap filing season that have yet to be adjudicated by the USCIS. Pursuant to today’s announcement, employers may interfile requests for premium processing for these petitions as of next Monday by submitting a properly completed Form I-907 along with the required filing fee of $1,410. This request will require the USCIS to either approve the petition, issue a request for evidence, or take other adjudicatory action within 15 calendar days of receipt. We will be reaching out individually to our clients who still have pending H-1B cap petitions from last year’s cap filing season to advise further on today’s announcement.

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