UPDATE:  Effective October 3, 2017, USCIS resumed Premium Processing for all H-1B cases.   As a reminder, the H-1B category is designed for foreign professional workers holding a university degree and authorizes a foreign professional to work in the United States in a “specialty occupation.”  For most professional positions, the H-1B classification is the only visa category available.  The earliest H-1B employment start date for H-1B cap-subject petitions filed for this fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018) will be October 1, 2017.  Exemptions to the H-1B cap include:  H-1B amendment/extension petitions, H-1B transfer (change of employer) petitions, and H-1B petitions filed by higher educational institutions and related non-profit entities.  The special exemption from the H-1B cap for foreign nationals who possess a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university will continue in FY2018.  This exemption is limited to 20,000 H-1Bs per fiscal year.

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UPDATE:  Effective this week, USCIS has reinstated Premium Processing for H-1B Cap cases.   As a reminder, the H-1B category is designed for foreign professional workers holding a university degree and authorizes a foreign professional to work in the United States in a “specialty occupation.”  For most professional positions, the H-1B classification is the only visa category available.  The earliest H-1B employment start date for H-1B cap-subject petitions filed for this fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018) will be October 1, 2017.  Exemptions to the H-1B cap include:  H-1B amendment/extension petitions, H-1B transfer (change of employer) petitions, and H-1B petitions filed by higher educational institutions and related non-profit entities.  The special exemption from the H-1B cap for foreign nationals who possess a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university will continue in FY2018.  This exemption is limited to 20,000 H-1Bs per fiscal year.

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UPDATE: Today, USCIS announced that effective immediately it will reinstate Premium Processing for H-1B petitions filed by institutions of higher education and related nonprofits and research organizations as well as governmental research organizations and petitions in which the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt entity.   USCIS continues to indicate that it plans to resume Premium Processing for other H-1B petitions as workload permits.  As USCIS reinstates Premium Processing to additional H-1B petitions, we will provide updates.

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UPDATE:  Effective June 26, 2017, USCIS will reinstate Premium Processing for H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers.  As background, the Conrad 30 Waiver program allows certain medical doctors to remain in the U.S. after completing medical training to work in areas with a shortage of physicians.  USCIS indicates that it plans to resume Premium Processing for other H-1B petitions as workload permits. As USCIS reinstates Premium Processing to additional H-1B petitions, we will provide updates.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on Friday that it will suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions effective April 3, 2017.  The suspension will cover all H-1B filings including H-1B cap cases, H-1B extension petitions, and H-1B amendments, among others.  H-1B cases filed with premium processing prior to April 3, 2017, will continue to be processed in line with the premium processing program.  USCIS has indicated that the suspension is anticipated to extend for up to 6 months.

This suspension does not apply to other classifications, so premium processing will continue to be available for other petitions (including L-1s, I-140s, and others).  We will continue to provide updates for any further changes in USCIS policy that may impact filings.

For any questions related to a specific case and potential strategies and alternatives, please feel free to reach out to us.

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