Premium Processing Now Available for Cap H-1B Visas
On September 18, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed the premium processing option for Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B cap visa petitions filed for an October 1, 2018 start date. Premium processing guarantees a 15-day processing time for either approval or a request for evidence for an additional $1,225 filing fee. USCIS has issued a large number of requests for evidence on cap H-1B petitions due to new USCIS policies questioning the specialty nature of positions offered. Once the request for evidence is issued and response is filed, USCIS will resume processing, but there is no guaranteed timeline.
Premium processing was also resumed for petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program and cap-exempt petitions filed by institutions of higher education or related entities. Premium processing remains suspended for all other H-1B petitions, including extensions of stay. USCIS indicates premium processing for all other H-1B petitions will resume as soon as workload permits, which is likely late October given the number of anticipated H-1B cap upgrades.