U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing for H-1B extension petitions. This means that Premium Processing is again available for all H-1B petitions.
Premium Processing was suspended in April 2017, shortly after the cut-off date for H-1B cap filings. Premium Processing guarantees that the government will take action on a case with 15 days of filing, for an extra $1225 filing fee. The action is not necessarily an approval; it could be a Request for Additional Evidence (RFE). An RFE stops the 15-day PP clock until CIS receives a response to the Request.
For more information, see previous blog posts.
USCIS Press Release
On September 18, 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed Premium Processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. Premium Processing (PP) was suspended in April 2017.
Premium Processing guarantees that the government will take action on a case with 15 days of filing, for an extra $1225 filing fee. The action is not necessarily an approval. It could be a Request for Additional Evidence. This stops the PP clock until CIS receives a response to the Request.
USCIS previously resumed Premium Processing of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for some H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.
Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.
For more information, contact Elaine Martin, immigration lawyer.
USCIS has received enough H-1B petitions to meet both the regular 65,000 cap and the 20,000 master's degree cap. CIS did not say exactly how many petitions were received, USCIS has suggested that the number is lower than last year's 236,000 petitions.
The agency did not say when it will conduct the lottery but, if they follow last year's timing, it could be this week.
Press release: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-reaches-fy-2018-h-1b-cap
The American Immigration Council (Council) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have teamed up on a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The suits is requesting information about the government’s administration of the H-1B lottery.
USCIS typically receives more applications than H-1B numbers available, so it conducts a lottery from the cases that it receives in the first 5 days of filing. CIS selects a number of petitions to be processed - taking into account that some of these will be denied, withdrawn, or otherwise rejected.
USCIS has never been open in describing the selection process. Attorneys, employers and H-1B applicants will be watching this case closely, hoping to get answers.
Despite the Obama Administration’s public commitment to the values of transparency and accountability, frankly, our attempts to see into this process have been resisted...Instead of responding to our requests for information about how the lottery is conducted, how cap-subject petitions are processed, and how the numbers are estimated and tracked, USCIS has kept the process entirely opaque. This litigation is intended to shine a necessary light on an important process in America’s business immigration system.”
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.