May 20, 2015
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that starting May 26, 2015, it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015. Employers are urged to consult with counsel regarding the potential effects of this temporary USCIS action.

The temporary suspension of premium processing may impact:
  • The onboarding of new H-1B employees
  • Current H-1B employee travel plans
  • Visa renewals
Between May 26th and July 27th, employers will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant. However, USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B Extension of Stay petitions filed prior to May 26, 2015.

USCIS reports that premium processing remains available for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions, including those that request a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification. Premium processing allows employers, for an additional filing fee of $1,225, to receive expedited processing of a Form I-129 H-1B petition. The standard processing time for these petitions is 2-3 months, but under premium processing the expedited decisions often occur within 10-15 days.

USCIS cites as reason for the delay the need to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner. For more information on this final rule, or on how the announcement may impact your organization’s immigration concerns, please contact the author or your Polsinelli attorney.