The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced today, July 24, 2017, that it will again expand its resumption of premium processing for certain types of H-1B petitions.
Effective immediately, H-1B petitioners who are (or have a sound argument that they are) exempt from the H-1B cap, are eligible to request premium processing. This includes petitioners that are:
- An institution of higher education,
- A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, or
- A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.
In addition, USCIS stated that it will resume premium processing for petitions that may be exempt “if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity.”
This welcome news comes about a month after USCIS resumed premium processing of H-1B petitions for physicians under Interested Government Agency (IGA) J-1 waiver programs such as the Conrad 30 waiver program for shortage area physicians. Employer’s petitioning for H-1B status for IGA-Waivered physicians became eligible for premium processing on Monday, June 26, 2017.
You may recall that when USCIS announced in March 2017 that is was suspending premium processing for H-1B petitions, the agency said that it expected to resume premium processing of H-1B petitions in general by early October 2017. In today’s announcement, USCIS indicated that it will further “resume premium processing of other H-1B petitions as workloads permit.” So it appears that USCIS is on its way toward meeting the October time-frame.
Until then, USCIS will continue to reject any Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing filed with non-eligible H-1B petitions. Petitioners who aren’t eligible for premium processing, may of course, seek expedited processing based on such things as humanitarian reasons.