The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not introducing the Premium Processing of H1-B visa applications in conjunction with the 2019 season set to open on April 2, 2018. Although not a complete suspension of the program, they have indicated that there is be a temporary delay in the fast-track option of getting a verdict on the H1-B lottery. The anticipated end-of-date for this suspension is September 10, 2018 after which it is expected to be roll out the premium processing option.
The premium processing option is common among employers who are looking to fill the US positions quickly. Consequently, they are able to pay an additional fee of $1,440 to expedite the processing time for certain employment based petitions and applications. This would mean that having qualified for premium processing, the applicant would go through the channels of evaluations after getting through the lottery in a matter of 15 days. This would put him to work in the US in the fiscal year 2019, that would be beginning October 1, 2018.
During the last season of the H1-B lottery meant for the fiscal year 2018, USCIS had suspended the premium processing for six months in order to tackle the huge influx of applications. Although there is a cap set at 85,000, there were close to 236,000 applications within the first five days alone. A similar surge is expected this year as well and in order to deal with such an onslaught the USCIS is preemptively preparing for a delayed release of the premium processing option.
A lot of tech companies are dependent upon this H1-B visa and await these petitioners to start several of their projects. While these are also the recipients who make use of the premium processing option in order to ensure a timely process of their work-flows, ironically, this delay only applies to H-1B applications from for-profit companies. All eyes are going to be locked on the April 2 start of this year’s H1-B season. To see how to prepare for your H1-B petition, find a step-to-step guide at H1B visa application process.