Ivener & Fullmer LLP

USCIS To Resume Premium Processing for Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions; Temporarily Suspends Use of Pre-Paid Mailers for Certain H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 22, 2016, that the agency will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Premium processing guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time. USCIS had previously announced that it would temporarily adjust its premium processing practice due to the historic premium processing receipt levels, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap would be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season. 

For H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap and for any other visa classification, the 15-day processing period for premium processing service begins on the date USCIS receives the 

request. However, for cap-subject H-1B petitions, including advanced degree exemption petitions, the 15-day premium processing period will begin on May 12, 2016, regardless of the date on the Form I-797 receipt notice, which indicates the date on which the premium processing fee is received. 

USCIS also announced on April 20, 2016, that for two weeks after premium processing resumes for H-1B cap-subject petitions, USCIS will not use pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for premium processing of H-1B cap-subject petitions. Instead, the agency will use regular mail. USCIS said this is “due to resource limitations as we work to process all premium processing petitions in a timely manner. After the two week period, we will resume sending out final notices in the pre-paid mailers provided by petitioners.” 

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