Effective immediately, USCIS has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions. The resumption applies to new petitions as well as those that are currently pending with USCIS. This means that, for the first time in recent history, premium processing will likely be available for petitions filed during the annual H-1B cap-filing season in April. It also allows employers to expedite petitions for an amendment of H-1B status or change of employer, including long-pending petitions already on file with USCIS.

Premium processing service provides expedited processing of an H-1B petition within fifteen (15) calendar days for an additional fee of $1,410, as opposed to 6-12 months or more under standard processing. Additional benefits include email notifications of receipt and approval of petitions by USCIS, and a dedicated phone number and email address for petition-related inquiries.

During last year’s cap-filing season, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing for all cap-subject petitions, and subsequently extended and expanded the suspension to other types of H-1B petitions, which created a hardship for certain H-1B holders and their employers, such as those beneficiaries needing to travel internationally while awaiting adjudication of an extension of their H-1B status. Full resumption of the service for H-1B petitions is a welcome development, as it can alleviate problems associated with delayed processing.

For more on H-1B petitions, click here.

˘ Law clerk/JD