Update on H-1B Premium Processing
***Note: The following message was sent to H-1B scholars, as well.***
March 6, 2017
Dear department administrators,
USCIS has announced that starting April 3, they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B I-129 petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. During this time, they will continue to accept H-1B petitions, although premium processing will be suspended. USCIS has provided a list of expedite criteria for employers to use, if applicable, and will notify the public when premium processing is ready to resume.
As you may know, "premium processing" is an optional service through which USCIS guarantees a response (approval, denial, request for further evidence, or notice of intent to deny) within 15 days from the receipt at USCIS, for an additional fee. However, it does not expedite two of the DOL processes that are required before an H-1B petition can be filed with USCIS.
In case you are curious if this has happened before, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all cap-subject H-1B cases and cap-exempt H-1B extension cases in the past. They are currently doing this in order to clear the backlog in preparation for the massive number of cap-subject H-1B petitions from for-profit entities starting early April.
USCIS will continue the premium process for H-1B petitions if the employer properly filed a premium processing request before April 3. This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129, such as O-1, E-3, etc.
International travel, including brief trips to Canada or Mexico, can impact H-1B filing. Please advise your H-1B employee(s) to consult ISSS before making any international travel plans. If not timed well, it could cost the hiring department additional funding as premium processing might become necessary.
We have been in touch with HR as they handle H-1B LCAs, which are required for ISSS to file H-1B petitions. Also, we have been reviewing the potential impact to all employees currently in H-1B status and those who might need extensions soon, as well as prospective hires. Your ISSS advisor will reach out to you shortly. If you have any potential hires, please let your ISSS advisor know. If your advisor is out of the office, please email email@example.com.
Your ISSS staff