USCIS announced on Monday, September 18, 2017, that it will immediately accept premium processing requests of all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap. H-1B cap petitions filed in April 2017, requesting a start date of October 1, 2017, can now be upgraded to premium processing. This includes petitions filed for the 65,000 H-1B visas allotted per fiscal year, as well as the 20,000 additional H-1B visas set aside for workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree. Employers who have F-1 students/employees currently working under the “cap gap” protection, and whose work eligibility will expire as of September 30, 2017, should consider upgrading their petitions to premium processing. Employers can file Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing with a $1,225 filing fee with the USCIS office where the H-1B petition is pending.

In addition to the resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay. USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H-1B petitions not subject to the FY2018 cap as agency workloads permit.