USCIS resumed premium processing on Monday, January 28th, 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.
H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If USCIS does not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continues with expedited processing of the petition. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, because USCIS has already received enough petitions to meet the FY 2019 cap.
The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for all other categories of H-1B petitions to which it applied. USCIS plans to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H‑1B petitions as agency workloads permit.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also posted a final rule on January 31st amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.
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