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Premium Processing of H-1B Extensions Suspended as of May 26

Late yesterday afternoon, in anticipation of the increased workload to be created by the filing of applications for Employment Authorization Documents (“EADs”) by H-4 spouses of certain H-1B employees beginning May 26, 2015, USCIS announced that as of May 26, it “…will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015.”

USCIS will premium process H-1B Extension of Stay petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests which were received prior to May 26, 2015. However, there is no assurance that USCIS will adjudicate those petitions within the accelerated period, reasserting their right and obligation to refund the premium processing fee if they do not act on such cases within the 15 day period.

Premium processing remains available beyond May 26 “…for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions, including petitions subject to the H-1B cap that are requesting a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification.” This would also appear to allow premium processing of a change to H-1B status by a “cap-exempt” beneficiary or by a “cap-exempt” employer, but we await additional USCIS guidance on this issue.

While the stated purpose of this suspension of service is to “…allow USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner and adjudicate applications for employment authorization…”, the announcement does not provide any new information about that application process or when to expect the release of the new Form I-765 to be used for these EAD applications by qualifying H-4 spouses.

We will provide an update on the status of premium processing for H-1B extension petitions as soon as USCIS releases further information.

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About this Author

William L. Coffman, Immigration Lawyer, Mintz Levin
Of Counsel

Bill’s legal work focuses on immigration and nationality law, as well as outbound emigration and related international law. Bill regularly represents clients in immigration matters before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Labor, as well as before US and foreign consulates.

During law school, he served on the editorial board of the Houston Journal of International Law.

Kevin R. McNamara, MintzLevin, Immigration, Labor, Employment

Kevin has 20 years’ experience in immigration and nationality law, and his practice is focused on employment-based immigration matters. His clients range from major corporations and institutions to individuals, including scientists, artists, athletes, academics, investors, and entrepreneurs. Kevin has served as immigration counsel to schools, universities, and research institutions as well as companies in the high-tech, pharmaceutical, biomedical, engineering, and financial services industries.

Before joining Mintz Levin, Kevin was an immigration partner in the Boston office of another law firm. Prior to this, he was director at another law firm for 14 years.