The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has just announced

that it will resume premium processing for H-1B cap petitions for

fiscal year 2019 on Monday, January 28. In August 2018, USCIS

announced that it would suspend premium processing of cap-subject

H-1B petitions until February 2019, due to steadily increasing

processing times and the high number of such petitions.1 The

resumption of premium processing also includes advanced degree

exemption petitions. However, the suspension remains effective for

other H-1B petition categories for the time being.

Premium processing is a service offered by the USCIS that

guarantees a processing time of 15 days. The USCIS will refund a

portion of the premium processing fee if it has not completed

processing in that time. Critics have argued that the premium

processing suspension has a detrimental impact on the H-1B program,

including reducing job portability for H-1B holders. As one leading

immigration attorney has described it: “The combination of

increased denials, long waits and an extended suspension of premium

processing has chilled H-1b visa holders transferring from one

employer to other.”2 The resumption of premium

processing should ultimately make it easier for H-1B holder to

transfer to new employers in the near future.

The USCIS advises that petitioners who have been issued Requests

for Evidence (RFEs) for pending 2019 cap petition include their RFE

response with premium processing requests.

Footnotes

1

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/uscis-h1b-premium-processing-suspended-february-2019.aspx

2

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2018/12/17/uscis-policies-harming-labor-mobility-of-h-1b-professionals/#710ca03361f7

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