USCIS announced that it will be expanding the temporary suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions. As, background on March 20, 2018, USCIS announced that it was temporarily suspending premium processing service for cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY2019. At that time, the Agency indicated that premium processing service was expected to resume for these petitions on September 10, 2018.
Today, however, USCIS announced that premium processing for H-1B cap petitions will not resume on September 10th and, rather, USCIS will be expanding the suspension to apply to other H-1B petitions, including petition amendments and change of employer requests filed on or after September 11, 2018. The update also suggests USCIS might refund premium processing fees and proceed with standard process for cases filed before the new suspension becomes effective but which remain pending beyond this date. Premium processing service will remain available to H-1B extension requests where there is no change in the petitioning employer as well as to petitions filed by certain qualifying cap-exempt non-profits and research organizations.
For impacted cases filed during the suspension, note that USCIS will still review and consider expedite requests if they meet the agency’s standard Expedite Criteria. However, expedited processing does not guarantee a certain processing timeline and is entirely discretionary.
USCIS has stated that it expects this expanded premium processing suspension to continue until February 19, 2019 and D&S will closely monitor this.