USCIS Confirms H-1B FY2019 is Same as Usual

USCIS confirmed to AILA’s that it is “not anticipating any procedural changes for the FY2019 H-1B cap season.” It also does not anticipate that premium processing will be suspended for non-cap H-1B petitions, though there may be a short suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions. [See AILA Doc. No. 18012505.]

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Certain Cap-Exempt Petitions

Today, USCIS announced that it has resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. Premium processing will resume for petitions that may be exempt from the cap if the H-1B petitioner is:

  • * An institution of higher education;
  • * A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
  • * A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.

Effective immediately, those cap-exempt petitioners who are eligible for premium processing can file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Form I-907 can be filed together with an H-1B petition or separately for a pending H-1B petition. On June 26, 2017, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program and interested government agency waivers.

USCIS Bought Back Certain H-1B Visa Premium Processing After a Long Halt

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has brought back premium processing for certain CAP exempt petitions.

On April 3, 2017, USCIS halted premium processing of H-1B visa petitions, for up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129. Prior to the halt, employers can request premium processing of H-1B petitions to ensure that USCIS will review the petition within 15 days at a cost of $1,225. Most non-premium processing types of H-1B petitions are currently averaging 6 to 8 months processing time. This suspension will apply to all H-1B regular cap and master’s cap petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B.

The only option for H-1B employers is that they may submit requests to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the Expedite Criteria. The employer must meet one of these concerns concerns as “severe financial loss,” “emergency situation” or “humanitarian reasons.”

USCIS said the halt is necessary to adjudicate long-pending petitions before the high volume of incoming petitions. However, the plan may cause significant impact on the fee-funded USCIS’s revenue.