Published: Sun, March 05, 2017
U.S. | By Jeffery Vega

U.S. suspends premium processing of H1-B petitions

U.S. suspends premium processing of H1-B petitions

While standard processing takes three to six months, premium processing takes a fortnight or three weeks. These applications appear to be rising in number, and the USCIS says it is suspending it in order to clear some of the backlog.

In the fast processing the applications are eligible for approvals within fifteen days.

The temporary suspension of "premium processing" of H-1B visas will cause some uncertainty for Indian software companies.

The United States now caps H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 allowed for those who have earned advanced college degrees in the United States.

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Petitioners will still have the opportunity to expedite their H-1B petition during the suspension if they meet the qualifications that include humanitarian crises or emergency situations.

The change has the potential to make big waves in the tech industry, where as many as 1 million H-1B visa holders make up 13 percent of technology jobs, according to The New York Times. It also said it will now, "Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark". The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt. "If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms", the agency said. Indians have also been awarded the highest number of H-1B visas among all nationalities in the United States, all along since the program came into existence in 1990.

However, it will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3. The said criteria include severe financial loss to company or person, an emergency situation, humanitarian reasons, being a nonprofit organisation whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States, being from the Department of Defense or national interest situation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.), a USCIS error, or compelling interest of USCIS.

However, if petitioners what to request for expedited processing they could submit a request.

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