USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for FY2018 Cap-Subject H-1Bs
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will begin offering premium processing for this fiscal year’s cap-subject H-1B visa applications, effective immediately.
What is Premium Processing?
For an additional fee of $1,225, the premium processing service guarantees adjudication and a decision—whether approval, denial, or request for additional evidence (RFE)—within 15 calendar days of receiving a petition. Requests for the service are filed with Form I-907, either along with the relevant petition or after one has been pending.
The H-1B applications now permitted to opt for premium processing include those that were randomly selected in the annual quota, or cap, this year. “Cap” refers to the numerical limits Congress has placed on the H-1B category. Each fiscal year, USCIS is authorized to award a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas, plus an additional 20,000 H-1Bs for beneficiaries who have at least a master’s degree from a U.S. college or university. (For guidance on which employers are not counted in the cap, refer to our analysis here.)
While premium processing remains unavailable to other H-1B petitions, including those for extensions of stay, USCIS reiterated its goal of resuming the service for all H-1B applications “as workloads permit.”
USCIS added that petitioners whose applications still remain ineligible for premium processing may alternatively submit requests for expedited adjudication, provided their applications meet the agency’s criteria. USCIS considers these requests on a case-by-case basis.
For the last several years, the statutory limits and popularity of the H-1B category have combined to create a filing season characterized by high demand and low supply. The number of H-1B petitions filed in fiscal year 2018 alone, for instance, amounted to more than twice the total number available. As a result, tens of thousands of qualified alien workers are unable to contribute to the businesses of their U.S. employers—and to the economy at large.
Compared to the two-week turnaround with premium processing, regular adjudication of H-1B applications can take weeks, if not months.
Premium Processing Developments
This resumption in premium processing is the third the agency has announced in the last few months. In late June, USCIS informed stakeholders that H-1B petitions for physicians applying under the Conrad 30 Waiver Program could once again be filed with premium processing. And in late July, USCIS reinstated premium processing for some cap-exempt H-1Bs. As we informed our readers earlier this spring, USCIS suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions on April 3, initially forecasting the hiatus to last for up to six months. Today marks five months and fifteen days since the suspension was implemented.
Our Firm is Here to Help
Over the past two decades, Zhang & Associates has successfully represented thousands of clients applying for H-1B visas, including both cap-subject and cap-exempt petitioners. If you are a prospective alien beneficiary or petitioning U.S. employer contemplating your H-1B or other nonimmigrant visa options, we invite you to click here to contact us today for a free evaluation of your potential case.
Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017
At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.
Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).
He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.
Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.
At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, EB-5, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past twenty-one years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free evaluation.
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