On September 18, 2017, USCIS resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) cap, which cap has been set at 65,000 visas. The premium processing service is only available for those applications currently pending, as USCIS received enough petitions to meet the FY2018 cap this past April.
In addition to resuming premium processing for the capped H-1B petitions, USCIS is also resuming premium processing for the annual 20,000 additional petitions set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.
USCIS had originally suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions received on April 3, 2017 or later. In July, USCIS resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions, such as those filed by institutions of higher education and certain nonprofits. Still, premium processing remains temporarily suspended for other categories of H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay or change of employer petitions for current H-1B visa beneficiaries. USCIS has not indicated when premium processing for the remaining H-1B petitions will resume, but says it will resume “as agency workload permits.”
By Camiel Becker and Clare Bienvenu