USCIS has once again announced the temporary suspension of the Premium Processing service for all cap-subject H-1B cases, including “Master’s Cap” cases.

The suspension is expected to last until September 10, 2018, but USCIS will notify the public before lifting the suspension. Unlike last year, at least for now, USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not cap-subject including cases filed by cap-exempt institutions.

Any Form I-907 filed with a cap-subject case will be rejected. If the case is submitted with one check covering both the Form I-129 and the Form I-907, both forms will be rejected. Once premium processing is resumed, petitioners will be able to interfile a Form I-907.

According to the USCIS, the purpose of the suspension is to:

  • Process long-pending petitions; and
  • Prioritize H-1B extension of status filings that are nearing the 240-day mark.

USCIS noted that petitioners still may request expedited processing (without an additional fee) if they can provide documentary evidence that at least one of the following expedite criteria is met:

  • Severe economic loss to company or person;
  • Emergency situation;
  • Humanitarian reasons;
  • Non-profit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the U.S.;
  • Department of Defense or national interest situation (these particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government);
  • USCIS error; or
  • Compelling interest of USCIS.

Expedited processing is a case-by-case determination and purely at the agency’s discretion. A grant of expedited processing is rare.