U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumes premium processing on all H-1B petitions after resuming premium processing for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Previously, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions related to those filed on behalf of physicians and subject to the annual cap.
With premium processing, which is a request for expedited processing by petitioners, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time for petitioners. In cases where the premium processing timeframe passes beyond 15 days, the agency refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and still continue with the expedited processing of the application.
On April 3, USCIS suspended premium processing. At the time, the agency cited a need to reduce overall processing times.
Through a release on October 3, USCIS announced the resumption of all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. USCIS resumed premium processing on H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program and subject to the annual cap on July 24. At that time, the agency also resumed premium processing for interested government agency waivers and certain H-1 B petitions not subject to the cap.
With President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, intended to ensure rigor in the enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, USCIS reexamined policies to work on a “combination of rulemaking, policy memoranda, and operational changes” for purposes of implementation, according to an April 18 USCIS release. The order also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies to “advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.”
“We are creating and carrying out these initiatives to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers and prevent fraud and abuse within the immigration system.”
Additionally, USCIS enhanced information sharing with the Department of State, the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice to help combat and prevent immigration fraud and also to streamline and to improve both new and existing processes in the immigration system, including the issuance of visas.
USCIS also encourages U.S. employers to use E-Verify, a verification process that helps employers determine if a potential new hire is authorized to work in the United States.