The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have decided to bring back the premium processing for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap petitions.
According to an alert published in the official USCIS website, the premium processing will also be available for the advanced degree exemption or else known as the “master’s cap”.
“USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit,” the note reads.
Premium processing enables a petitioner to receive an answer on their application within 15 days, for an additional fee of $1,225. If the answer is delayed, the USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition.
USCIS had suspended the premium processing service last year in March, as an attempt to reduce the overall H-1B processing times. The move was taken in a bid to create space to process long-pending petitions left unprocessed so far as a result of the high number of incoming petitions and the significant increase in premium processing requests over the last few years.
In August, the USCIS decided to extend the suspension of premium processing until February 2019, for the same reasons.
Now that the Federal agency has resumed the service, petitioners will be able to apply for premium processing. However, new submissions will not benefit from the move.
“This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions because we have already received enough petitions to meet the FY 2019 cap,” the USCIS notes, asserting they plan to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H‑1B petitions as agency workloads permit.