Beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS has announced that in order to process long-pending petitions, be responsive to time-sensitive dates and prioritize H-1B extensions nearing the 240 day cut-off, it will be expanding the temporary suspension of premium processing beyond cap-subject H-1B petitions to include certain additional H-1B petitions. In addition, it will be extending the previously announced suspension of cap-subject premium processing originally slated to last until September 10, 2018, until at least February 19, 2019. This new cut-off date now applies to all suspended premium processing.
This premium processing suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after September 11, including:
- Newly hired H-1B workers requiring a change of employer;
- Current employees extending H-1B status with a material change in employment; or
- Amended petitions.
Premium processing will still be available in the following situations:
- Cap-exempt petitions or
- Current employees extending H-1B status without a material change in employment.
This temporary suspension of premium processing only applies to H-1B nonimmigrant classifications. While premium processing is suspended, employers may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if it meets at least one of the following criteria, which must be well documented:
- Severe financial loss to company or person;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
- Department of Defense or national interest situation, where request originates with official U.S. government entity;
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS