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Yesterday, USCIS announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions beginning on April 3, 2017 for as long as six months. Importantly, this suspension will even apply to all FY2018 cap-subject H-1B petitions. This includes NEW CAP H-1b CASES, Change of Employer H-1b petitions, H-1b extensions and H-1b amendments

USCIS claims the reason for suspending premium processing is to reduce overall H-1B processing times.

The lack of premium processing may greatly affect current H-1B visa holders and prospective H-1B applicants from traveling, renewing driver’s licenses, or even begin working under their sponsoring employer.

In light of the temporary suspension of premium processing, you should take the following under consideration:

  1. If possible, foreign nationals whose H-1B status is nearing expiration and would like to file with premium processing should file before April 3, 2017. In general, employers should aim to file H-1B petitions as early as possible for extensions for their employees.
  2. Foreign nationals who are beneficiaries of a FY2018 cap-subject H-1B petition should be cautious about any travel outside of the United States during the processing period.
  3. On a case by case basis, USCIS may on rare occasion grant an expedition of an H-1B petition if it meets the Expedite Criteria.
  4. Contact a Business Immigration Specialist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this temporary suspension.

SWLG will continue to provide important updates on this matter as they become available.

Premium processing is expected to remain available for other eligible nonimmigrant petitions filed on Form I-129, including L-1 and O-1 petitions, and for eligible I-140 petitions.