U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on July 24, 2017 that it would resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions effective immediately. Premium processing allows petitioners to pay a fee to receive a decision from USCIS within 15 calendar days. Without premium processing, wait times can extend for long periods, which delays start dates and can cause other hardships to employers and employees.

Premium processing has been resumed for cap-exempt petitions if the H-1B petitioner is:

  • An institution of higher education;
  • A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
  • A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.

Premium processing will also resume for cap-exempt petitions where the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity. USCIS resumed premium processing for Conrad 30 waiver program recipients on June 26, 2017.

Many hospitals qualify as nonprofit entities related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education and may consider utilizing the now available premium processing option for any currently pending or upcoming H-1B petitions in order to receive a timely decision from USCIS.