USCIS to Resume Premium Processing for FY2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

23:41 25 January in News Updates

What’s new?

Today USCIS announced it will accept premium processing requests beginning on Monday, January 28th, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions.   This refers to H-1B petitions submitted in April 2018 which were selected in the lottery, but are still pending final adjudication with USCIS.

Whom does this help?

The opportunity to add a premium processing request to cap cases still pending from last year may be particularly beneficial for F-1 students whose “cap-gap” work authorization ceased on September 30, 2018.    These students have been unable to work pending adjudication on their H-1B petition, which if approved would have taken effect on October 1, 2018.

What is the regular (non-premium) processing time for FY2019 H-1B cap petitions?

USCIS reports that the current (non-premium) processing time for H-1B petitions at the USCIS California Service Center is between 8.5 and 11 months.   The processing time for H-1B petitions under the jurisdiction of the USCIS Vermont Service Center is 6 to 8 months.

How does premium processing work?

If an employer submits a premium processing request, together with the requisite $1410 filing fee, USCIS will guarantee a response on the case within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request “or your money back.”   The response may be an approval, denial, or request for additional evidence.   If USCIS issues a request for additional evidence, the premium processing clock stops, and will re-start at Day 1 when the response to the request is received at the agency.

When will premium processing be reinstated for other types of H-1B petitions?

The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for all other categories of H-1B petitions to which it applied.   USCIS states it plans to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H-1B petitions as agency workloads permit.

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