The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated its May 19, 2015 alert announcing temporary suspension of premium processing for certain H-1B petitions. http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-temporarily-suspends-premium-processing-extension-stay-h-1b-petitions
Here are the highlights:
- May 26, 2015 – July 27, 2015*: Premium processing is suspended for all H-1B extension of stay petitions with extremely limited exceptions for cases meeting the narrow expedite criteria. See USCIS Expedite Criteria webpage.
- During this suspension period, premium processing will still be honored for:
- H-1B extension of stay petitions requesting premium processing prior to May 26, 2015 (but be aware that the announcement states: “USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if: A petitioner filed H-1B petitions prior to May 26, 2015, using the premium processing service, and USCIS did not act on the case within the 15-calendar-day period.”)
- Change of status H-1B petitions
- Consular notification H-1B petitions
- Consular notification H-1B petitions for those who have H-1B status
- H-1B amendment petitions that do not also request an extension of stay
- H-1B1 petitions (under the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free-Trade Agreements).
The temporary suspension is intended to enable USCIS to timely implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule, which became effective on May 26, 2015, and is anticipated to result in “an extremely high volume of Form I-765 applications”.
*USCIS has indicated that it will monitor workloads and if feasible, resume premium processing for H-1B extension petitions prior to July 27, 2015.
Ms. Wadhwani is a partner in the Immigration Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. She may be reached at email@example.com.