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Premium Processing for H-1B Lottery Petitions Suspended Until September

Recently, we reported that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would soon suspend premium processing for H-1B petitions. The window to enter the H-1B lottery starts April 2, and USCIS announced on March 20, 2018 that it would in fact suspend premium processing from April 2 through September 10. 

According to the USCIS statement, “During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the Fiscal Year 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.”

During the temporary suspension, any requests for premium processing will be rejected, and the applicant uses one check to try to pay for two forms—one of which is a  request for premium processing—both forms will be rejected.

According to USCIS, the temporary suspension will allow the agency to deal more methodically with the volume of petitions it receives and prioritize H-1B extension of status cases that are approaching the 240 day mark.

Suspension of H-1B premium processing is a fairly common occurrence. Last year, it started on May 12 and was left ominously open-ended. In fact, premium processing was back to normal by October 3. This year’s suspension is more clearly defined, and it only pertains to those entering the H-1B lottery. Premium processing for other H-1B visas will not be affected.

If you are petitioning for an H-1B visa and are unsure of how or if this suspension applies to you, consult a reputable immigration attorney.


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