Published March 21, 2018

On April 2, 2018, the filing season begins for the new batch of H-1B visas that become available for fiscal year 2019 – which starts October 1, 2018.   On this date, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) anticipates receiving 250,000 or so requests for the 85,000 H-1B visas that make up the new yearly supply.    

In the past week though, CIS announced that the premium service allowing for expedited review of chosen filings will be suspended through September 10, 2018.   Typically, news of which filings are chosen for consideration becomes public around June, and from there, under standard processing timelines, employers and their prospective employees must wait another 90 days or so to have their filing reviewed.  With Premium Processing, petitioning employers – by paying an additional fee of $1,225.00 – are usually able to learn of an approval, or receive a request for additional evidence, within 14 days or less.  But as stated, this premium process has been suspended until September, and those filings submitted with a Premium Processing request – and with payment in the form of a single check for combined processing fees – will be rejected.

Still, an H-1B petitioning employer may avail of expedited processing, and without payment for Premium Processing service and no matter the recent suspension announcement, under certain special circumstances.  Outside Premium Processing service, CIS, in its discretion, allows for the possibility of expedited processing for all filings if the parties can demonstrate that one or more of the following criteria are at play: Severe financial loss to company or ​person​;​ Emergency situation;​  Humanitarian reasons;​ Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States​;​  Department of Defense or ​n​ational ​i​nterest ​s​ituation (These particular expedite requests must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.);​ USCIS error; or​ Compelling interest of USCIS.​


PUBLISHED March 21, 2018– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2018, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois