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USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

August 29, 2018

Changes are part of an effort to reduce processing times for other long-delayed applications.

Update: Today, USCIS announced that it is extending the temporary suspension of premium processing for Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions. This temporary suspension is expected to remain in place until approximately February 19, 2019. In addition to the extension, effective September 11, 2018, USCIS will also expand the suspension of premium processing to other categories of H-1B petitions, notably now including H-1B transfer petitions (aka change of employer petitions) as cases that cannot be premium processed.

As of September 11, 2018, USCIS will not premium process:
– Any H-1B petition filed at the Vermont Service Center; or
– Any H-1B petition filed at the California Service Center (except for those filed for employment at a cap-exempt institution or organization).

This includes H-1B transfer petitions for individuals seeking a change of employer filed at either service center.

The expanded suspension will NOT apply to:
– H-1B petitions filed at the Nebraska Service Center requesting an extension with the same employer with no change in employment, or
– Cap-exempt H-1B petitions filed with California Service Center because the petitioning employer is cap-exempt as a cap-exempt institution, entity, or organization.

Limited to H-1B Petitions
This temporary suspension does NOT apply to other nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129.

Rationale: USCIS seeks to use this temporary suspension of premium processing to process long-pending petitions and adjudicate petitions with sensitive start dates and extension applications approaching the 240-day mark.