On May 19, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will temporarily halt acceptance of premium processing requests for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions from May 26, 2015 through July 27, 2015.

Premium processing requests are filed using Form I-907, and allow a petitioning employer to receive a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days. Premium processing is being suspended in order to allow USCIS to timely implement employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses.1

The agency's decision is limited to cases where an extension of status is being requested by the same petitioner for the same beneficiary. USCIS is expected to issue a clarification that will provide that premium processing will remain available for all other H-1B petitions, including petitions subject to the H-1B cap and cap exempt petitions, provided the petition is requesting a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification. In addition, USCIS stated that it will refund the $1,225 filing fee for those employers requesting premium processing services prior to May 26, 2015, where a decision is not made within a 15-calendar-day period.

Petitioning employers seeking extensions for employees traveling during the summer may want to consider filing the petition for consular notification in conjunction with a premium processing request. In addition, petitioning employers should avoid delays in filing for extensions in order to avoid disruptions for some employee benefits tied to issuance of approval notices, such as renewal of driver's licenses.

The USCIS has announced it will temporarily halt acceptance of premium processing requests for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions.