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.
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about your specific circumstances.