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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for FY 2019 H1B Cap Petitions

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USCIS recently announced that beginning January 28th premium processing services for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap petitions will resume, including petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption (also known as the “master’s cap”).

This means that any petitioner with a pending FY 2019 cap-subject petition may now upgrade the H-1B petition to premium processing service.

Petitioners who have received a request for evidence for a pending FY 2019 cap-subject petition may also upgrade the petition to premium processing service by including a Form I-907 with the response to the request for evidence.

What is premium processing service?

Premium processing is a service provided by USCIS for certain employment-based immigration benefit requests. The service gives petitioners the benefit of receiving 15-day processing of their petition.  Premium processing is typically used in connection with Form I-129 Petitions for Nonimmigrant workers and I-130 Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers.

At the moment, premium processing service has only resumed for pending petitions subject to the FY 2019 cap.

Premium processing services remain temporarily suspended for all other categories of H-1B petitions (except those outlined below).

Keep in mind that the February 19th suspension did not originally apply to any of the following types of petitions:

  1. Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or
  2. Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” (Box b. on Part 2, Question 2, Page 2 of the current Form I-129) with a concurrent request to:

Notify the office in Part 4 so each beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted. (Box on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129); or

Extend the stay of each beneficiary because the beneficiary now holds this status. (Box c. on Part 2, Question 4, Page 2 of the current Form I-129).

3. Petitions filed using Form I-129 for other nonimmigrant classifications.

More information will be provided once USCIS has lifted the temporary suspension for all other petitions.