On August 28, 2018, USCIS announced that they will be extending the previously announced suspension of premium processing for H-1B quota petitions and that the suspension of premium processing will also be expanded to include other H-1B petitions. Importantly, the expanded temporary suspension will apply to ALL H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers (except for those cap-exempt petitions that are filed at the California Service Center because the Petitioner/employer is cap-exempt or the H-1B Beneficiary will be working at a cap-exempt institution). Similarly, this temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to certain H-1B petitions which are filed exclusively with the Nebraska Service Center for employers requesting a continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer.
The newly expanded temporary suspension is set to take effect on September 11, 2018 and is anticipated to last until February 19, 2019. USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for non-H-1B quota petitions that are filed before September 11, 2018. However, in cases where the Petitioner files a Form I-907 requesting Premium Processing before September 11, 2018 and USCIS is unable to adjudicate the case within the normal 15 calendar day processing period, USCIS will refund the Premium Processing fee.
*Note that the temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to any other nonimmigrant classifications, such as L-1, O-1, E-3, TN, etc. which are also filed using Form I-129.*
Although Premium Processing is currently suspended, an H-1B Petitioner may submit a request to expedite the processing of an H-1B petition, but only if it meets the USCIS expedite criteria, including:
- Severe financial loss to company or person ;
- Emergency situation;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States ;
- Department of Defense or n ational i nterest s ituation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS.
Decisions on Expedite Requests are made on a case-by-case basis and the burden is on the Petitioner to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria listed above.