19 Sep USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All New H-1B Visa Petitions Under 2018 Cap
September 19, 2017 – U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will again accept Premium Processing applications for all H-1B temporary skilled worker petitions filed under the Fiscal Year 2018 cap. Premium Processing is a USCIS service offering a response with 15-calendar days of filing. Premium Processing costs an additional $1,225 in USCIS filing fees. USCIS suspended Premium Processing for new H-1B visa petitions filed starting April 1, 2017 for the FY 2018 cap. Over 199,000 new H-1B visa petitions were filed in April 2017. As USCIS has worked through these petitions, it has progressively re-initiated Premium Processing for new H-1B cases – most recently re-starting Premium Processing for H-1B visas filed by academic institutions as of July 24, 2017.
However, USCIS is not yet accepting Premium Processing for all other H-1B visa petitions. Thus, renewals of H-1B visas are not yet eligible for Premium Processing. In 2017, the USCIS Vermont Service Center reports a 4 to 5 month processing time for H-1B renewals / extensions of status, and the California Service Center reports a 3 months processing time for H-1B renewals / extensions of status. This compares favorably to the 8 to 10 month processing time for H-1B renewals / extensions experienced in 2016.