A couple months ago USCIS placed a freeze on premium processing for the H-1B visa application due to new administration initiatives. The rationale behind the freeze was cited as the overwhelming number of applications, and the lack of manpower to process this number. Premium processing is a way to expedite the H-1B application at the cost of additional fees. USCIS guarantees that the application will be processed within 15 calendar days after submission, and the full refund if the 15 calendar day promise is not met, while continuing the expedited processing for the application.
On September 18, 2017, USCIS announced that it would resume the premium processing of the H-1B application subject to the Fiscal Year year 2018 cap for some categories of applicants. In addition to the 65,000 visa cap for FY 2018, USCIS also resumed the premium processing for the 20,000 additional H-1B slots for candidates with advanced degrees Master’s Degree and above) who wish to work in the U.S. What’s more, USCIS intends to presume H-1B premium processing for all categories of applicants after the fiscal year 2018.
If your H-1B petition is a new submission, not with a pending status, for FY 2018 cap, you may able to submit a request to still expedite your petition on a case-by-case basis. To submit this request to expedite your petition, according to USCIS’s site, you are responsible for demonstrating one or more of the following criteria:
-Severe financial loss to company or person;
-Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
-Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);
-USCIS error; or
-Compelling interest of USCIS.
If you are uncertain whether your H-1B application qualifies for the premium processing as a pending application, or if it meets the criteria on a case-by-base basis as a newly submitted application, please contact D’Alessio Law Group for a consultation.