Premium Processing Resumes for Certain Additional Cap‑Exempt H‑1B Petitions

July 24, 2017Alerts Immigration Alert

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced July 24 that it will resume premium processing of certain additional types of H-1B petitions, effective immediately.

H-1B petitioners who are (or have a sound argument that they are) exempt from the H-1B cap are now eligible to request premium processing. This includes petitioners that are:

  • An institution of higher education
  • A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education
  • A nonprofit research or governmental research organization

In addition, USCIS stated it will resume premium processing for petitions that may be exempt “if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity.”

This welcome news comes about a month after USCIS resumed premium processing of H-1B petitions for physicians under Interested Government Agency (IGA) J-1 waiver programs, such as the Conrad 30 waiver program for shortage area physicians. Employers petitioning for H-1B status for IGA-waivered physicians became eligible for premium processing on June 26.

You may recall that when USCIS announced in March that it was suspending premium processing for H-1B petitions, the agency said it expected to resume premium processing of H-1B petitions in general by early October. In today’s announcement, USCIS indicated it will further “resume premium processing of other H-1B petitions as workloads permit.” It appears that USCIS is on its way toward meeting the October time frame.

Until then, USCIS will continue to reject any Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing filed with noneligible H-1B petitions. Petitioners who aren’t eligible for premium processing may seek expedited processing based on factors such as humanitarian reasons.

For questions or more information about this alert, please contact Catherine V. Wadhwani at 412.394.5540 or [email protected] or any member of the firm’s Immigration Practice.