At a glance

  • USCIS may impose a short suspension of 15-day premium processing service for FY 2019 H-1B cap filings.

  • The agency does not expect to suspend premium processing for H-1B extensions and other non-cap H-1B filings.

The situation

In a brief update to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has indicated that it may briefly suspend premium processing service for H-1B cap filings during the FY 2019 filing season, which begins on April 2.

Premium processing for non-cap H-1B filings -- which includes H-extensions, amendments and changes of employer – is not expected to be suspended. USCIS does not anticipate making other changes to cap filing procedures for the FY 2019 season, though last-minute changes cannot be ruled out.

In 2017, premium processing was put on hold for cap and non-cap H-1B filings from the start of the cap season through the beginning of October, delaying approvals in many cases.

During prior cap seasons, USCIS typically accepted premium processing requests for H-1B quota filings, but postponed the start of the 15-day premium processing clock until it had completed initial intake of cap filings and run the quota lotteries. It is not yet clear whether USCIS will follow this exact procedure for the FY 2019 cap.