What suspension of premium processing in H-1B visa cap category for 2019 means for you
This year, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap on April 2, 2018. Normally, premium processing is a paid service that the USCIS offers to review certain work visa petitions, including the H-1B visa petitions within 15 business days. Premium processing is requested through Form I-907 and the service costs $1,225.
The USCIS has announced that they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, the USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap.
How can suspension of premium processing for H1B cap-subject petitions affect you?
The USCIS has stated that they will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. However, if a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) fees, the USCIS will reject both forms! The USCIS has added that once premium processing is resumed, petitioners may file premium processing Form I-907 for FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions that remain pending.
In Situations of an Emergency, Petitioners May Submit a Request To Expedite Their H-1B Petition
While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit requests to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the Expedite Criteria. For a successful request, the petitioner has to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria by presenting documents and relevant evidence to support their claim to expedite.
USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. The petitioner has the burden to demonstrate that they have met the expedite criteria.
Examples of H-1B petition to expedite criteria may include:
- Severe financial loss to a company,
- Severe financial loss to a person,
- Emergency situation,
- Humanitarian reasons,
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States, and