On March 3, 2017 US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it will temporarily suspend premium processing for H-1B Visas from April 3, 2017 and this suspension may last up to six months. From this day, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification.
The H-1B Visa allows foreign professionals to work in the US for up to six years.
Until now, the premium processing was helpful for new applicants in cases where they were already in the U.S. on a student visa or some other visa.
In particular, regular H-1B processing takes six to eight months, while premium processing costs an additional $1,225 but ensures a response from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in 15 days or the fee is refunded. In many cases, for those who are already in the U.S., premium processing helps in planning for alternative visa options if they don’t make it in the lottery. Anyway, for a person applying from abroad for the first time for an H1B visa, premium processing hardly makes any difference.
In the last couple of years, due to an increase in the filing of H1B petitions, companies and employees started taking the premium route and more and more people are paying extra to get the case processed within 15 days.
USCIS declared that by temporarily suspending premium processing, they will be able to process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.
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