USCIS Extends & Expands Suspension of H-1B Visa Premium Processing

From September 11, 2018, the USCIS will suspend premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions for an additional 5 months.  Furthermore, the temporary suspension – announced back in March – will be expanded to include all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers (VSC and CSC), except for certain cap-exempt employer filings and extensions with the same employer without change as noted in the agency’s announcement (  The suspension, as part of the USCIS’s effort to remove backlog, is expected to last until February 19, 2019.

Premium processing is a feature designed to shorten the usual processing time for H-1B visas from an average of 6 months to 15 calendar days.  The USCIS explains that the temporary suspension will allow the agency to: 1) process long-pending petitions; 2) be responsive to petitions with time-sensitive start dates; and 3) prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.

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