Premium Processing for H1B Visas Resumed

The 15-day expedited processing for H1B visa applicants has resumed with immediate effect. This is applicable for any petitioner who has applied with the premium processing service fee and covers both, petitions filed under the FY 2018 cap of 65,000 visa category as well as for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) had previously resumed premium processing for H1B petitions not subjected to the annual cap and for physicians under the Conrad program. Premium processing for all other categories of H1Bs that are not subjected to the FY 2018 cap will resume as workloads permit and remain suspended until then. In the meantime, USCIS encourages employers to request for processing premium of existing applications under the non-cap category which they will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

In order to meet the expedited criteria, USCIS has set forth the following requirements –

  • 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 ​national ​interest ​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.

​Under the Premium Processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time for certain employment-based petitions. If that is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee but still expedite processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions.

What to expect when applying for H1B Premium Processing at USCIS?

  • Apply with the most current version of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service;
  • Ensure filing at the correct filing address;
  • Expect an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within the 15-calendar day period;
  • If a RFE (request for evidence) is received, submit additional evidence to justify the H1b application.
  • A new 15 calendar day period will begin upon receipt by USCIS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

Premium Processing for I-140 explains further how to file for Form I-907.