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News:H1B Premium Processing Suspended 6 mon – All Petitions, 2018

Usually USCIS releases a press note indicating the acceptance of H1B Visa Applications with premium processing info, for the next fiscal year around the March time frame ( last year it was released on March 16th for FY 2017 ). Anyways, for this year, which is FY 2018, it is slightly different…they have released a press note explicitly giving guidance on Premium Processing for FY 2018 and other H1B petitions filed after April 3, 2017. Below is the summary as it impacts every H1B applicant either new or transfer.

If you are new to H1B, you may want to What is USCIS Regular vs Premium processing H1Bs

USCIS News Summary : Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing All H1B Petitions

  • Suspension of Premium Processing : Starting from April 3rd, 2017 ( which is the start date for H1B Visa FY 2018 season), USCIS is temporarily suspending premium processing for all H1B visa applications up to 6 Months. USCIS will indicate to everyone, when they will resume accepting premium processing applications.
  • Who all does this suspension impact : It impacts everyone who would like to file for H1B petition after April 3rd, 2017. To be more precise, below are the various types of applicants.
    • All new H1B Applicants filing for the first time and subject to H1B Cap
    • Masters Degree Cap Holders, OPT F1 visa Holders filing H1B for first time
    • H1B Transfer applicants, who are not subject to annual H1B cap
    • All the cap exempt petitions that are filed by non-profit orgs, education institutions, etc.
  • What Happens if you file Premium Processing ?
    • After April 3, 2017 : USCIS has indicated that they will reject any H1B Petition that includes form I-907 for H1B Premium processing that are filed after April 3rd, 2017 for FY 2018 quota. It does not matter, if the employer has filed separate checks or combined check.
    • Before April 3, 2017: If you have filed for H1B Premium processing before April 3rd, 2017 typically a H1B Transfer petition, USCIS will refund your premium processing fee, if they cannot adjudicate your case within 15 calendar days.
  • What all visas applications premium processing is impact ?
    • This premium processing suspension applies only to H1B petitions that are filed using I-129 form. In fact, I-129 form is used to file for L1, E3, O1, etc. visa applications and it does not impact those other visa applications.
  • Any Options for Expedited Processing for H1Bs?
    • While the H1B premium processing is suspended, you can request for expedited processing, if you fall under the Expedite criteria by USCIS, which includes situations like : Severe loss to the company or person, Emergency situation, humanitarian reasons, etc. Check Full Expedite Criteria on USCIS.gov . You will need to submit relevent documentation supporting your emergency situation, if you need expedited processing.
  • Why USCIS has suspended Premium processing :
    • USCIS says that it will help them reduce overall processing times for H1B by temporarily suspending premium processing. It will help them address the cases pending for over 240 days mark, also address the high volume of incoming requests for H1B amendments, etc.

That’s the summary of press release from USCIS folks.
What’s the reality of H1B Applications Processing with USCIS  ?
USCIS has a ton of backlog as they indicated, some are open for over 240 days…Also, below is the data from their system ( which may not be fully up to date, but gives some idea).  You can check out H1B Visa Tracker as well to get an idea of pending applications . USCIS Processing times H1B petitions 2017 With these  long delays, the premium processing has been used heavily, as you get the case adjudicated within 15 calendar days. This is not doing justice to the petitions that are filed in regular processing. Also, one of the reasons for the heavy influx in the H1B applications with the change in rule that employer have to file LCA and H1B amendment with USCIS, if there is a change in work location.  USCIS does not have enough man power to support these large volume of premium processing times to meet the 15 calendar day deadline. With all these, USCIS want to be fair to everyone, so they have made this decision…

What do you think ?  Speculation – Do you think it has something to do with New Trump administration 😉  ? Your thoughts ?

Reference : USCIS.gov News Release – Premium Processing Suspended 


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  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I have 2 questions related to H1B transfer. Please confirm.

    1. I want to transfer H1B from employer A to B. When employer B submits the H1B petition to USCIS and I received the receipt number from USCIS. As per law, I can join employer B on basis of receipt number. What will happen to me if H1B transfer is denied by USCIS? Can I still work for employer B. I cannot work for A because I already quit A and joined B.

    2. If the client & working location for both employer A & B are same, is it necessary for employer B to file LCA?

    3. What is H1B transfer rejection probability now-a-days? In above scenario, what is possibility of rejection? Is it safe to join employer B?

    Please clarify the above questions urgently. Thank you.

    • 1. If H1B transfer petition is denied then you are not authorized to work for employer B. You will have to stop working for employer B as soon as USCIS denies the petition. You can rejoin A if they had not withdrawn your petition or find a new employer and file transfer within 60 days grace period.
      2. New LCA is required. LCA is tied to the company rather to you. So new LCA is required.
      3. Transfer petitions are also scrutinized like a new petition. We cant say for sure. If the submitted documents are all right then it would be approved for sure. You may need to submit everything right from client letter, SOW etc.
      Best option is transfer the visa in premium processing. Once the petition is approved start working for Company B. This is the best route you can take.

  2. There is update from USCIS on premium processing.

    Please find the new link.


  3. Hi,
    I see recent update on USCIS that they resume PP for Conrad program ( Physicians) and also mention for other petitions they will resume as workload permits.
    Looks like they have already covered the backlog
    any chance of resuming from past experiences from seniors.

    • I mean any chance of resuming very soon like in a 15 days to month? Like end of july.
      I am in big fix , My h1 b got denied after RFE reason unknown yet letter yet to be received, lawyer is saying we can file new petition but it will take months in regular process as PP is suspended and can’t continue to work on Denied petition.

    • Not sure. Even my company is planning to file for amendment and extension. As per USCIS they will redume in six months. So let’s hope for the best.

    • Not sure. Even my company is filing for amendment and extension. As per USCIS it will be back after six months. So hope for the best..

  4. Hello,

    I am currently working on L1B-Individual Visa in US for Employer A. I have an approved H1B petition with employer B well before April 3 2017. I have just not yet started working on that H1B petition and am still working on my L1 visa with Employer A.

    Can you please help me understand if the PP suspension affects L1 to H1B change of status in my case? If PP is suspended, how much time regular processing of Change of Status requests take?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • USCIS has clearly mentioned (in April) that it has suspended the PP process for 6 months. So hopefully it is restored by August or September.

  5. Hi,
    I filed my case under premium on Jan 2017 and got RFE. My company attorney responded with all documents on 13th Apr 2017 and documents delivered on next day. Till date, I haven’t seen any update on the case status page.

    The actual last date for responding for RFE was 25th Apr 2017 and we responded before the deadline.

    My visa already expired and I-94 date also crossed.

    How will they count 15 calendar days? What will happen to my case if I didn’t get any response even after 15 days?

    • Hi Arul, Since your PP request was in January, I think USCIS will honor it. From the date RFE Response received was updated, its 15 business days that you will get a result.

    • Did you get it Approve now? As i can see they are processing the petitions that are filed on Feb 27,2017 as per their website https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do
      If not, please request your attorney, to request for a status.

  6. Hi everyone,

    My h1 b transfer case is sent to USCIS Vermont centre on april 12th(obviously in regular) and I am still waiting for the receipt,its been 20 days,anyone else on the same boat??for all my previous filings I got receipt in a week or 2,this time wait is long.New employer has a big law firm so couldn’t really check with them if the cheque is encashed? Please let me know if anyone else is waiting for the receipt even after 20 days?Is this because of lottery of 2018 h1s on april 11?

    • Hi Keerthika

      If you don’t mind will you share the status of your H1b transfer? cause i’ve applied for visa transfer and i’m waiting on USCIS to respond.


  7. My H1B and H4 Extension got Approved for 3 years without Client letter.

    Processing Type: PP
    Receipt Date: 31-March-2017
    Approval Date: 7-April-2017

    Note: Client letter is not mandatory. Only vendor is suffice.

    Good Luck all!


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