Premium Processing for H-1B Extensions Temporarily on Hold

June 10, 2015
Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan

On May 26, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would temporarily suspend premium processing, which guarantees processing of a case within 15 days, for H-1B petitions requesting an extension of stay. USCIS plans to resume premium processing by July 27, 2015.

USCIS decided to suspend premium processing for extensions in order to allocate its resources for the adjudication of employment authorization applications for H-4 spouses under the new regulation. USCIS began accepting these applications on May 26, 2015, and it anticipated a high number of applications during the period between May 26 and July 27, 2015.

At this time, premium processing remains available for H-1B petitions requesting the following:

  • A change of status;
  • Consular notification; and
  • An amendment that does not include a request for an extension.

USCIS also clarified it will not accept premium processing requests for any H-1B petition requesting an extension of stay even if the petition is also requesting a change of employer.

If an urgent need for expedited processing of an H-1B petition exists, USCIS has indicated that it will review expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. To have a case expedited, the petitioner must demonstrate that at least one of the following applies:

  • Severe financial loss to company or individual;
  • Extreme emergent situation;
  • Humanitarian situation;
  • Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
  • Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government);
  • USCIS error; and
  • Compelling interest of USCIS.

If you have any questions regarding premium processing or have a case in which you need to request expedited processing of an H-1B extension, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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