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USCIS Temporarily Suspends H-1B Premium Processing Petitions

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on March 22, 2017

Premium processing has been temporarily suspended by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for all Fiscal Year ’18 H-1B petitions. Effective immediately, it is expected to last less than six months. This can impact employers whose employees wish to leave the USA during this time.

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infographic_USCIS Suspends H-1B Premium Processing Petitions

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Scope

  • FY18 H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017. Once a significant portion of the backlog is cleared, USCIS will give notification, resuming premium processing (Form I-907).
  • The temporary suspension specifically applies to all FY18 H-1B petitions (Form I-129): regular and master’s cap and any cap-exempt requests.
  • Other eligible non-immigrant classifications are currently not suspended.

Fees

  • There has been an increase to the filing fee for Form I-129 from $325 to $460 USD.
  • If a payment is dishonored there is no longer the 14-day leeway to correct it, so ensure the payment source is reliable.
  • If the petitioner submits payment for the H-1B non-immigrant classification (Form 129) together with lump payment for premium processing service (Form I-907), both requests will be denied together.

International Travel

With the 15-day fast-track eliminated, the process of applying for renewals or extensions might take six to eight months. This can be precarious for workers, but also for companies wondering whether employees will be there to work. Already, Infosys is not applying for H-1B visas for employees with under four years experience.

A Word of Warning

During this suspension, those applying for H1-B renewals or extensions do well to seek legal advice before leaving the States. The very best immigration lawyer Chicago would make it clear that, with limited ability to fast-track the process, an employee may be delayed or unable to return.

Expedited Processing

A petitioner may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition in certain situations. It’s crucial to have sound legal advice since decisions on expedited processing are made entirely at the discretion of the USCIS. In matters of importance, it is logical to tap into the experience of the best immigration lawyer Chicago.

To request the processing of a domestically filed petition, the customer should contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC). The Service Request will then be forwarded to the appropriate office. Overseas applicants should request the USCIS office directly in their local jurisdiction.

There are strict regulatory and statutory requirements that even the best immigration lawyer Chicago can find challenging. They know that improperly handled petitions and evidence will cause unnecessary delays.